Congressman Peter Visclosky will not run for re-election after 35 years in office.
November 6, 2019-A day after local elections, Congressman Peter J. Visclosky announced that he will not seek a 19th term in the US House of Representatives. Visclosky issued a press release stating “for my entire career I have worked to build support for our domestic steel industry and organized labor, secure investment in transformational projects and improve our quality of place to benefit the only place I have ever called home.”
During Visclosky’s tenure the steel industry in Northwest Indiana lost tens of thousands of jobs and organized labor saw its power decreased time and again. Visclosky was instrumental in the creation of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (NWI RDA) which has been described by some as “shadow government.” The purpose of the unelected NWI RDA is to push the “quality of place” projects for which Visclosky was wholly ineffective in securing federal support during his tenure.
In 2009 Visclosky was embroiled in a House Scandal which caused the left-leaning Committee for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington to list him as one of the ten most corrupt In Washington. (https://www.citizensforethics.org/press-release/crew-releases-fifth-annual-most-corrupt-members-of-congress-report/).
As if the script had been pre-planned, Mayor Thomas McDermott of Hammond immediately announced via social media that he will seek Visclosky’s seat in congress in 2020. McDermott was re-elected to a fifth term in yesterday’s municipal election. Mark Lopez, Visclosky’s Chief of Staff is widely seen as McDermott’s strongest competitor although other local names with less political strength have been mentioned in Lake County political circles.
McDermott took to social media and his radio show in October this year to complain that Visclosky had hired an opposition researcher who submitted a slew of public record requests to the City. While McDermott did not state the exact nature of the requests, sources confirm to the Gazette that the requests include contracts with insiders such as RSR Demolition, LLC which mysteriously disappeared in early 2018. RSR founder Daniel Urquiza was also the owner and operator of the restaurant at the City owned Lost Marsh golf course.
The Lake County Republican Party has conceded the seat and wholly failed and refused to support candidates who opposed Visclosky. In 2012 Joel Phelps mounted a serious challenge to Visclosky and the party ultimately kicked him out of his campaign headquarters and refused to suppport him financially. Since that time, Mark Leyva has repeatedly challenged Visclosky with no Party support. Governor Eric Holcomb awarded Visclosky the “Sagamore of the Wabash” award in February, 2019 despite his listing as Washington’s most corrupt by CREW.
No matter what happens, things are going to get interesting in 2020.