U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon announces retirement, creating an open seat in 2024 election

By: - January 8, 2024 1:31 pm

U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon announced his retirement from Congress, opening up a seat in the 2024 election cycle. (Screenshot from 2018 video response to the State of the Union)

U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon announced Monday he will retire from Congress this year, freeing up another congressional seat for Indiana politicians in the 2024 election cycle.

“Scripture teaches us, ‘For everything there is a season, and it became clear to me over the Christmas holiday with much discernment and prayer that the time has come to bring my season in public service to a conclusion. Therefore, I will not seek reelection to an eighth term and conclude my service in the House of Representatives at the end of the 118th Congress,” Bucshon said in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon (Official Congressional Portrait)

A Republican and cardiothoracic surgeon, Bucshon was elected in 2010 to represent portions of western and southern Indiana. He called it “the privilege of a lifetime,” noting his Illinois roots as the son of a coal miner and nurse and thanking his staff.

“However, the biggest thank you must be reserved for my wife, Kathryn, and our children. Without Kathryn’s indulgence, support, and willingness to accept drastic changes to our family life over the past 14 years, I would not have been able to serve in Congress. I also want to thank my children Luke, Alec, Blair, and Zoe. When I first ran for Congress, all four children were living at home – with our youngest just 6 years old – and today they are all grown and pursuing their own lives. As young children they all had to accept significant changes to our family life to accommodate my service in Congress,” Bucshon concluded.

Much of Bucshon’s legislative focus was on health care, including recent efforts to modernize the organ transplant process and lower costs. Other priorities, according to his year-end release from 2023, included energy production, halting undocumented immigration at the southern border and opposing abortion rights.

Bucshon received his medical degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and completed his residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin, where he was chief resident in surgery and completed a fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery. During that time, he enlisted with the United States Navy Reserve and served for nearly a decade before he was honorably discharged.

Prior to his Congressional bid, Bucshon performed heart surgeries and was the president of Ohio Valley HeartCare alongside his duties as chief of cardiothoracic surgery and medical director of the open heart recovery intensive care unit at St. Mary’s Hospital — all in Evansville.

U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, called Bucshon a great friend and mentor in a statement, saying he “fought for conservative values.”

“Larry and I have traveled to Afghanistan, Normandy for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day and recent to Africa to visit Indiana National Guard troops. As a fellow Navy Reserve Veteran I appreciate what Larry has done to serve our veterans and support our troops,” Banks said. “Those are big shoes to fill for our state!”

Another open seat in 2024

Bucshon’s announcement comes roughly a month before the Congressional filing deadline. Three districts so far won’t have an incumbent, with competitive primary races in the 3rd Congressional District and 5th Congressional District.

Banks, in the 3rd Congressional District, is seeking the state’s open Senate seat currently held by U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, who is running for governor in his own competitive primary.

Banks’ departure has attracted 14 candidates to the safely Republican race in northeastern Indiana, including 10 Republicans, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Republican entrants who reported fundraising monies to the FEC include:

On the Democrat side, farmer and teacher Phil Goss and global consultant Kiley Adolph have raised funds.

In the 5th Congressional District, incumbent U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz, a Republican, announced her retirement last year but recently indicated that she might run again. When she initially ran in 2020, her seat was one of the most competitive in the country as both major political parties sought to grow their power. Following redistricting later that year that excluded Marion County while retaining Anderson and Muncie, Spartz’s seat became safely Republican.

Eleven other candidates have filed with the FEC, indicating their intention to run — though Madison County prosecutor Rodney Cummings withdrew in August. Of the 10 Republican candidates, only three had reported raising any funds:

  • Cummings
  • State Rep. Chuck Goodrich
  • Trucking business owner Siddharth Mahant

The sole Democrat in the 5th Congressional District race reportedly raised no funds.

No Republican has yet announced for the 8th Congressional District. The primary winner would face Democrat Kellie Moore, who supports legalizing cannabis for recreational use and raising the minimum wage.

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An afternoon call to Patoka Republican Rep. Matt Hostettler, who is rumored to be interested in Bucshon’s seat, went to voicemail.

Sen. Greg Goode, who ran for the seat in 2008 and lost to incumbent U.S. Rep. Brad Ellsworth, said he’d personally reached out and thanked Bucshon for his service but that his priorities for now were with the General Assembly — a body he was selected to join back in August.

“Larry has been an exceptional congressman and he’s served the 8th District very well,” Goode said. “My message has been to offer support and assistance to Larry and the members of his office and that’s all I have to at this juncture. But one never says no to potential opportunities but I’m deeply, deeply honored to be serving where I am right now and that’s what I’m focused on.”

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Whitney Downard
Whitney Downard

A native of upstate New York, Whitney previously covered statehouse politics for CNHI’s nine Indiana papers, focusing on long-term healthcare facilities and local government. Prior to her foray into Indiana politics, she worked as a general assignment reporter for The Meridian Star in Meridian, Mississippi. Whitney is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University (#GoBonnies!), a community theater enthusiast and cat mom.

Indiana Capital Chronicle is part of States Newsroom, the nation’s largest state-focused nonprofit news organization.

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