By Associated Press - Wednesday, February 5, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - A state senator has become the 13th candidate in a crowded Republican field seeking the central Indiana congressional seat being given up by GOP Rep. Susan Brooks.

Sen. Victoria Spartz of Noblesville announced her congressional campaign on Wednesday, saying the country must reverse from what she calls a “socialistic course” and return to the principles of limited government and individual freedoms.

Spartz will be going before voters for the first time, as she joined the state Senate in 2017 when she was picked in a Republican caucus to replace longtime Sen. Luke Kenley after he retired.

Republicans could see a bruising campaign for the party’s nomination in the May primary for the congressional district long held by Republicans that stretches from the northern Indianapolis suburbs to rural areas around Marion. But Democrats have had some recent local election success in the district and many party leaders are backing lieutenant governor nominee Christina Hale for their nomination.

Several Republicans are running active campaigns, including state Treasurer Kelly Mitchell, physician Chuck Dietzen, former state Bureau of Motor Vehicles commissioner Kent Abernathy, evangelical youth pastor Micah Beckwith and business owner Beth Henderson.

Brooks announced in June that she would not seek re-election in 2020 after eight years in Congress.

Democrat Dee Thorton is also running after unsuccessfully challenging Brooks in 2018.

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