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Chocola wins key Indiana district


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INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (CNN) -- Republican attorney Chris Chocola defeated ex-Democratic congresswoman Jill Long Thompson in a hard-fought race in Indiana's 2nd District, CNN projects.

A recent poll showed the race locked in a near dead heat. The contest began shortly after Rep. Tim Roemer, a Democrat who defeated Chocola by five points in 2000, abruptly decided to retire last year.

The district became marginally more Republican in redistricting, but Democrats who ran the remapping process made a strategic point of cutting out the part of Elkhart County where Chocola lives. Chocola refused to move into the district, giving Democrats plenty of fodder -- especially given that he tirelessly attacked Roemer for living outside the district in the 2000 election.

Thompson served in the House from 1989 to 1995 and later served as an agriculture undersecretary under President Bill Clinton.

The economy played a key role in the race, as the northern Indiana district depends heavily on durable goods -- a sector of the economy particularly hard hit by the recession. President Bush campaigned here in September, raising roughly $650,000 for the Indiana Republican Party.



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