- Associated Press - Thursday, November 5, 2020

WESTFIELD, Ind. (AP) - Fresh off winning a tight, expensive race for an Indiana congressional seat, Republican Victoria Spartz said Thursday that she will try to work with Democrats as she trades her spot in the GOP-dominated state Legislature for the narrowly divided U.S. House.

Spartz defeated Democrat Christina Hale for central Indiana’s 5th District seat in a race so close that it took until most mail-in ballots were counted for her victory to become clear Wednesday night.

Spartz, a state senator from Noblesville for the past three years, campaigned as more stridently conservative than current Rep. Susan Brooks, who built a reputation as a moderate Republican in comfortably winning four elections. But Spartz maintained she hoped for a bipartisan atmosphere in Washington even if Democrat Joe Biden prevails over President Donald Trump.

“I will see if they are very political or not,” Spartz said during a news conference at the Hamilton County Republican headquarters. “It’s a very different environment there, but hopefully the environment is going to change.”

Spartz, 42, who immigrated from Ukraine about 20 years ago, won a crowded Republican primary race that largely turned into a contest of loyalty to Trump. But she afterward shifted away from talking about Trump during the general election campaign against Hale.

Democrats had targeted the congressional district centered on the northern Indianapolis suburbs amid a national trend of suburban women moving away from Republicans under Trump. At least $15 million was sunk into the race, with national party organizations and dark-money groups spending heavily on largely negative advertising.

Spartz defeated Hale by about 4 percentage points for Indiana’s closest U.S. House race since Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski first won her northern Indiana seat by about 1.5 percentage points in 2012.

Democrats were heading toward renewing their control of the U.S. House for two more years but with a potentially smaller majority

“We maybe disagree on the broader issues, but we can go and agree on some narrow issues,” Spartz said. “I think if we can get something done and move the needle and move our country forward, it will be great.”

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