The seat is currently vacant because Indiana Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, who was running for reelection, died in a head-on automobile crash in early August. Also killed in the accident were Walorski aides Emma Thomson and Zachery Potts; and Edith Schmucker, who was driving the other vehicle.
Republican officials in Indiana's 2nd District have selected Rudy Yakym, a business executive and a longtime political ally of Walorski, to replace her on the November ballot in the heavily GOP district. A special election to determine who will complete Walorski's current term (through the rest of this year) will take place on November 8, the same day as the general election. Yakym was also selected as the GOP's nominee for that race.
AFN contacted Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana, for his read on Yakym.
"He's not held public office before," Clark notes. "I'm always a little leery of people who their very first job [in politics] is in Congress rather than a school board or a state legislature position because they're not tested."
As Clark explains, other candidates with proven records in office were available – candidates he says had experienced political pressure but still stood firm on their positions.
"You never really know where someone is going to stand and how strong they are until they're in office and under pressure from the left or from the right," he tells AFN, "and the people … who were running against him had a proven record as office holders."
According to Clark, Yakym won on the first ballot because he had the endorsement of Walorski's husband who said she would have wanted him to succeed her. Yakym is a former campaign finance director for the late congresswoman.
The Associated Press reported Friday that the fatal accident on August 3 occurred when Potts, who was driving the vehicle with Walorski and Thomson as passengers, crossed the center line to pass a flat-bed truck and pulled into the path of Schmucker's oncoming car.