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Sodrel Announces Comeback Bid Against Hill

Mike Sodrel is hoping the fourth time’s the charm.

The former GOP congressman, who was ousted in last year’s Democratic wave, announced this afternoon that he will be seeking a rematch against Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.).

Sodrel had been mum about his future plans, but no other GOP candidates had jumped into the race, all deferring to the former congressman.

His run marks the fourth consecutive election that Hill and Sodrel have run against each other. Sodrel challenged Hill in 2002 and lost, but narrowly defeated him in 2004. Then Hill returned the favor last year.

One Indiana GOP operative called the ongoing battle between Sodrel and Hill a “blood feud.”

“It tells you it’s personal. When they’re running against each other like that, that tells you they hate each other,” the operative said.

He enters the race with high name recognition, strong fundraising connections and a ready-made base of support. Hill also got off to a strong fundraising start, banking $544,000 at the end of the second quarter.

Hill’s Bloomington-based district is one of the more Republican seats held by a Democrat. President Bush won 59 percent of the vote in 2004, and 56 percent of the vote in 2000.

Indiana Republicans are also hoping that election coattails from the presidential campaign will also help Sodrel, particularly if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) leads the Democratic ticket.

The National Republican Congressional Committee hailed Sodrel’s entry in the race, and believes he is the strongest candidate to run against Hill.

“Mike Sodrel’s commitment to representing the true interests and values of the district will ultimately win out in the end and deliver a message to Washington that it is time to start getting something done,” said NRCC spokesman Ken Spain.