More Join The Race For Souder's Seat In Congress

By Scott Sarvay
By Megan Trent

June 18, 2010 Updated May 26, 2010 at 6:40 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Another three candidates emerge in the race to fill Mark Souder's third district congressional position.

Mike Foster announced his candidacy at Republican headquarters this morning. It's a familiar feeling for the 29-year Federal Express employee. He has run for the seat before. In 2000 he was the Democratic nominee who ran against Souder.

He says he grew tired of hearing that he was too conservative for the Republican party, so he switched in 2001. Souder supported him back then, and today he also spoke words of support for Souder and his family.

He says he's not worried about his history as a Democrat. "I'm hoping that it does come up, and I'm hoping that if people look at the archives they will be able to see that I was probably more conservative than the Republican candidate, or incumbent, at that time. And I've probably gotten a little more so, but I'm still sensible. I'm more sensible than anything."

Former telecommunications executive Lonnie Powell was also at Republican headquarters this afternoon as he announced his intention to seek the House seat.

Powell believes congressmen should, "empower business growth, promote healthy communities and loudly and consistently demand that government live within its means."

He says he is running because he is similar to the people he wishes to represent. He was laid off of his job, and now he wants to use his personal experiences to improve the situation in Washington.

"Why am I running for office? Largely because I know more than any other candidate in this race the professional and personal hardships that so many people of the 3rd house district face today."

Fort Wayne criminal defense attorney Richard Thonert filed paperwork at The Allen County Election Board Tuesday, signaling his intention to be considered for the seat.

We spoke to Thonert at his Fort Wayne office Wednesday afternoon. With a long history in the community, Thonert says he has the knowledge and experience necessary to fill Souder's seat.

"I've been asked hard questions, and I'll try to answer those questions, because I've had to do that in my law practice and I want to take that experience and use it. Congressmen need to go to Washington and ask the hard questions and get the answers."

There are twelve people so far who have announced their candidacy for the third district congressional seat, and most agree on several conservative issues. They want smaller government and less government spending. Most have mentioned a desire to bring jobs to the area and reduce taxes.

While each candidates fights to separate themselves from the ever growing pack of competitors, the single Democratic nominee, Tom Hayhurst, is gearing up for both the special election and general election.

The Republican caucus will most likely be held June 12th, although no specific date has been officially announced. During the caucus a nominee will be chosen by the party. That candidate will compete for Souder's seat in the special election as well as the general election.

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