With the House passing a last-minute stop gap measure to avoid a government shutdown, one high-profile local Republican says he wants a chance to be part of the process.
Randy Niemeyer, 37, chairman of Lake County’s Republican Party, announced Sunday he will be running for his party’s nomination in May for the 1st Congressional District, mounting a challenge against two-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Frank Mrvan, D-Highland.
Niemeyer, who also serves as the District 7 Lake County councilman, said he was not necessarily seeking a higher office but the opportunity presented itself while he was in talks with state and federal Republican leaders about fielding a candidate for the 1st Congressional District after it became clear Jennifer-Ruth Green was not going to run again.
Green, a political newcomer, mounted a challenge against Mrvan in 2022. She was backed by an influx of millions of dollars in federal party and PAC spending in what was the most expensive race for the seat in its history. About $15 million was spent on the race, according to Federal Election Commission records. The extra spending drew Green closer than past Republican candidates as she came within a 5.6% margin of victory for the seat, which Democrats have held since 1932.
Niemeyer said he supported Green and enjoyed her campaign.
“I am thankful for what she did in last year’s campaign. It’s really showing voters of the 1st District you really can vote for a Republican. We have more in common a lot of times than our representatives let us know,” Niemeyer said.
As a candidate, Niemeyer comes with his own political resume and a family name in politics. Prior to serving on the county council, Niemeyer was elected to three terms on the Cedar Lake Town Council, serving 10 years as its president.
The Niemeyer name has long ties to Indiana and Lake County politics. Former Lake County Councilman and current State Sen. Rick Niemeyer, R-Lowell, is a second cousin and the late Lake County Commissioner and State Sen. Ernie Niemeyer was his great uncle. Randy Niemeyer plans to announce his candidacy Sunday at the Niemeyer Auction House in Lowell, which his owned by Rick Niemeyer. The site has served as multiple campaign stops including by former Vice President Mike Pence.
He acknowledged the amount of money spent on Green’s race was large because she was a relative unknown in the region.
“Name recognition is something that is you don’t have it, it takes a lot of money to get it our there and gain it,” Niemeyer said.
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