This database has been a hobby and a labor of love for me for the past 4 1/2 years. Every politician (currently over 1,000), every election result (currently over 600 in 77 different years), every office holder and the length of their tenure has been compiled and manually entered by me. It’s been a long slow process, though it might have gone quicker if it wasn’t just a hobby (and if I weren’t typing out every line of code for both the front-end website and back-end database by hand).
So why have I spent so much time on it? The short answer is that I love Indiana history and politics. The long answer is that in 2010, I served as the spokesman of the Indiana Republican Party. When Mike Pence was considering a gubernatorial run, reporters would constantly ask when the last time a sitting member of the U.S. House ran for–and won–a gubernatorial race. Or they’d want to know the most votes someone had ever received in a particular race. Or who had served the longest in this or that seat. I was usually able to find them an answer, but realized it would be nice to have a sort of Baseball Reference for Indiana politics.
In November 2010, after the election had ended, I decided I would build such a site. I used my post-election downtime to start compiling data and building the back-end of the site. It didn’t take long to realize I was in over my head. While the front-end existed for a short time on this website while it was a blog, it was never it’s own standalone website. And while life frequently got in the way, the dream never died. I kept compiling data, checking it against new historical sources I’d come across, and building more and more into the back-end. While I could also run complex searches to help reporters out (mostly Ed Feigenbaum, who geeks out over this stuff with me), no one else could access it.
When I came back to this site last month after not working on it for nearly a year, I decided I needed to stop adding new data and start building a public interface. There should be enough here to interest most people, and it gives me a reason to add new data more quickly in the future. So here we are.
In the footer below, you can find a link to see exactly what elections I have info on. On the pages you’ll find in the menu above, you can see which candidates and office holders are included in each category. Enjoy!