Pro-Trump Republican Jennifer-Ruth Green wins in 1st Congressional District primary

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Jennifer-Ruth Green declared victory in the 1st Congressional District Republican primary Tuesday night after spending the latter portion of her campaign bashing her opponent for not supporting Trump in 2016.

It's a sign that where candidates stand on former President Donald Trump still matters in Indiana, a state Trump won by 16 percentage points in 2020. Green, an Air force veteran and newcomer to politics, routinely promised to "advance Trump’s America First policies" in campaign ads.

The Associated Press had called the race for Green by 10:45 eastern time Tuesday. Green had 49% of the vote followed by Blair Milo, a Navy veteran and former member of Gov. Eric Holcomb's administration, with 18% of the vote. An estimated 76% of the vote had been counted.

“I have been blessed to have the opportunity to serve our country in uniform for 22 years, and I look forward to earning the opportunity to represent Hoosiers and continue my service in Congress,” said Green, an Air Force veteran, in a statement.

More: Former state Sen. Erin Houchin wins in 9th Congressional District Republican primary

In the Democratic primary, freshman Rep. Frank Mrvan claimed victory just before 9 p.m. Tuesday with 91% of the vote and an estimated 26% of the vote counted. His opponent Richard Fantin had 9% of the vote.

Political analysts think the 9th District race has the potential to be competitive in November, though for nearly a century, it's been a Democratic stronghold. Both Sabato's Crystal Ball and The Cook Political Report have labeled the districts as competitive, leaning in the Democratic direction.

Because of that, it's poised to be the most watched race in November in Indiana.

Seven Republicans filed to run in the 1st Congressional District Republican primary, hoping to win the nomination to oust Mrvan in November. Green and Milo had emerged as the clear front runners heading into the Republican primary, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars each.

Green attempted to paint herself as the more conservative option of the two, while Milo focused on her economic achievements at former mayor of LaPorte. Green had been endorsed by conservative firebrand Attorney General Todd Rokita and by the anti-abortion organization Indiana Right to Life. Pushing for "strong families" is one of her top priorities, which includes advocating for anti-abortion policies and keeping transgender girls out of girls sports

The 1st District Republican primary turned negative in the final weeks of the election cycle, starting with an attack from Green labeling Milo a "never Trump liberal."

Jennifer-Ruth Green is running for Indiana's 1st Congressional District.
Jennifer-Ruth Green is running for Indiana's 1st Congressional District.

The South Bend Tribune reported in 2016 that Milo declined the opportunity to serve as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland to avoid voting for Trump.

'I was not convinced casting a vote for the presumptive nominee was something I could stand behind," Milo said at the time.

Furthermore the Tribune reported that she was "struggling" to decide who to vote for that year in the election. At the time, Pew Research reported that only 40% of Republicans said they are satisfied with their choices for president. Since then, Milo said she's voted for Trump twice.

"It was a time period where I think a lot of people had many questions," Milo told IndyStar this month. "I am thankful for many of the policies that President Trump championed and continues to lead on and that's where I'm running to continue supporting those policies."

Milo went negative shortly after Green did, releasing an ad targeting Green for pulling a Democratic primary ballot in 2018.

Green's campaign said she voted in the Democratic primary in 2018 in order to vote for a friend who ran as an anti-abortion candidate in Indiana's 1st Congressional District, and that Republicans had no "viable" candidates at the time.

Green will face Mrvan in the general election in November.

Call IndyStar reporter Kaitlin Lange at 317-432-9270 or email her at Follow her on Twitter: @kaitlin_lange.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Pro-Trump Jennifer-Ruth Green claims victory in 1st District primary