By Marisa Schultz
EXCLUSIVE: An Indiana congressional race once considered solidly Democratic is getting national attention as a possible GOP pick-up opportunity in November — with a history-making candidate.
Jennifer-Ruth Green, an Air Force veteran, pilot and backer of former President Trump’s “America First” policies, won the GOP primary election Tuesday to represent the state’s 1st Congressional District. If successful on Nov. 8, she’d be poised to become the only Republican Black woman in Congress.
“I have the opportunity to be a different kind of messenger,” Green told Fox News Digital of bringing Republican policies to minority communities. “Eighteen months ago, we were better off. I think that resonates across the board. But having someone who looks like you say it, it’s been an opportunity for me to be able to get into places where perhaps other people couldn’t.”
Green, who already has an endorsement from former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, got another big boost Thursday with Rep. Elise Stefanik, the House GOP conference chairwoman, backing her candidacy. The endorsement of Stefanik’s E-PAC carries with it campaign cash, support and a publicity boost.
“Jennifer-Ruth honorably serves as a Lt. Col in the Indiana Air National Guard, and when she wins on November 8, she will make history as the first Black woman veteran ever to serve in Congress,” Stefanik said in a statement to Fox News Digital.
“As Republicans continue to make historic gains with Hispanic, Black and other minority communities, I couldn’t be prouder to endorse Jennifer-Ruth and help elevate her voice and incredible story.”
Green, 40, is the founder of MissionAero Pipeline, a non-profit group that teaches at-risk youth the aerospace industry. Green is one of about 150 Black female professional pilots in the United States, and she’s striving to expand that number through her nonprofit youth work.
Green said she’s humbled by Stefanik’s support during her first run at public elected office.
“She’s just a powerhouse,” Green said of Stefanik, who made history in 2014 when she became the youngest woman ever elected to the House at the age of 30.
“She stands for the America First movement. And her goal of electing women in Congress is something that she’s taken to heart,” Green added. “She continues to push forward to encourage others to be effective. That’s a sign of leadership. Leaders build leaders and that’s what she does.”
Green will face incumbent Democratic Rep. Frank Mrvan in November. Mrvan entered Congress in 2020 with the endorsement of longtime retiring Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Ind., and the help of name recognition from his father, Frank Mrvan, who worked in Indiana Democratic politics for more than 40 years until retiring from the state Senate this year at the age of 88.
The First District, based in Gary, Indiana, has been reliably Democratic for nearly a century. A Republican has not won the seat since 1928. Mrvan won the 2020 election with 56.6% of the vote.
But national Republican groups have been eyeing the seat this year, thinking that President Biden’s low approval ratings and an anticipated red wave could mean Mrvan is vulnerable. Green also notes the district became a little more purple after redistricting, the once-a-decade redrawing of congressional lines.
Matt Calderon, Mrvan’s campaign manager, told Fox News Digital that Mrvan will serve the people of northwest Indiana better than his “extreme conservative opponent.”
“Congressman Mrvan is running for re-election to continue to be a public servant and address the pressing issues of the day on behalf of the residents and families of the 1st Congressional District of Indiana,” Calderon said in a statement. “He is proud of his record in his first term in office, supporting the American Rescue Plan to rescue our economy, working families, schools and small businesses.”
Calderon touted Mrvan’s work as the co-chair of the Congressional Steel Caucus and advancing strong Buy America requirements to support domestic manufacturing.
“Frank’s extreme conservative opponent and national Republicans do not know or represent the interests of Northwest Indiana,” Calderon said, “and Frank trusts that the voters will support his district-centric record of accomplishments that have helped get communities past the pandemic and made critical investments in the Northwest Indiana economy and have helped create more good-paying job opportunities.”
Stefanik’s E-PAC aims to increase the number of conservative women in Congress. Green is Stefanik’s 19th endorsement for the 2022 midterms. This cycle, E-PAC has already raised and donated more than $700,000 directly to GOP women running for Congress.
“Vulnerable far-left Democrat Frank Mrvan is asleep at the wheel, while Jennifer-Ruth is fighting hard each day to bring the red tsunami to northwest Indiana,” Stefanik said in statement. “I look forward to working closely with Jennifer-Ruth to flip this key seat red and usher in the most historic and diverse class of GOP women ever in our nation’s history.”
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