|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Indiana's 8th district
January 3, 2007 - January 3, 2011
|Sheriff of Vanderburgh County|
January 6, 1999 - January 3, 2007
|Born||September 11, 1958|
Jasper, Indiana, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Southern Indiana|
Indiana State University
John Bradley Ellsworth (born September 11, 1958) is an American politician who was the U.S. Representative for Indiana's 8th congressional district from 2007 to 2011. In 2010, he was the Democratic candidate for a seat in the United States Senate, but he was defeated by Dan Coats, a former Senator, by 55% to 40%.
Ellsworth was born in Jasper, Indiana, the son of Margaret (née Scherle) and Jim Ellsworth. He spent his early years in Huntingburg, Indiana. When he was still in grade school, his family moved to Evansville, where his father took a job as a crane operator in Warrick County's Alcoa plant. He is the youngest of four siblings. His brother Eric is the president and CEO of the YMCA of greater Indianapolis. His brother Joe is a founding partner and president of Fire & Rain Marketing/Communications headquartered in Evansville.
After graduating from William Henry Harrison High School in 1976, he attended Indiana State University-Evansville (now the University of Southern Indiana) where he received a bachelor's degree in sociology, and became a member of Sigma Tau Gamma. Ellsworth worked in the paint and hardware department at Sears while in school to pay for his education. He later received a master's degree in criminology from Indiana State University. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology also gave him an honorary doctorate of humane letters at their 2008 commencement.
In 1982, Ellsworth began a career in the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Department. Over the next 23 years, he held every merit rank, and was twice decorated for heroism in the line of duty. While serving in the Department, Brad Ellsworth instituted the first Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program in the Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation. He later attended and graduated from the FBI National Academy.
In 1998, Ellsworth ran for sheriff and won by a large margin. He was unopposed running for a second term. In 2005, he announced that he would be running in the Democratic primary for Indiana's 8th congressional district, which was then held by six-term Republican incumbent John Hostettler.
Ellsworth is a conservative Democrat with a populist streak. He opposes abortion and gun control. Ellsworth also represented a socially conservative swath of Indiana. However, on economic issues, Ellsworth usually votes more with the Democratic party. After his election to Congress, he joined the Blue Dog Coalition.
Ellsworth condemned the National Right to Life Committee for not supporting the extension of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to cover more families. While Ellsworth voted against an earlier version of the bill, he joined the other nine signatories in voting for the final bill.
In November 2009, Ellsworth wrote an amendment restricting federal funding for elective abortions. Americans United for Life asserted that this language does not eliminate the public funding of abortion in the House bill, but instead only requires said federal subsidies to be separately disbursed by an independent contractor. Ellsworth later voted for the Stupak Amendment. He eventually voted for the Senate language of the healthcare bill lacking the Stupak Amendment's anti-abortion language.
In July 2007, Ellsworth designated $2 million to extend the John T. Myers lock chamber on the Ohio River and $750,000 for manufacturing and engineering equipment for the University of Southern Indiana. Two other projects Ellsworth brought to southwestern Indiana were the construction of a campus perimeter road system at USI for $350,000 and a portion of University Parkway construction also at $350,000.
Smaller projects for which Ellsworth gained House approval include $200,000 to restore Evansville's Alhambra Theater, $135,000 for emergency warning sirens in Vanderburgh County and $75,000 to train utility workers at Ivy Tech Community College.
As of June 30, 2006, Hostettler had raised $287,000 and had $195,000 on hand, compared to Ellsworth's $1,036,000 raised and $676,000 on hand. However, Hostettler had won several campaigns against opponents with more funding than him. In addition, the National Republican Congressional Committee had spent $163,000 in his district as of mid-July 2006. (The DCCC, its counterpart, had spent $166,000 for Ellsworth as of that date.)
The Cook Political Report, an independent non-partisan newsletter, listed the race as a toss-up as of mid-August. As of early September, the Rothenberg Political Report called Hostettler one of the three most endangered House incumbents in the country; Chris Cillizza, political analyst for The Washington Post, ranked Hostettler as the most vulnerable House incumbent in the nation; and Robert D. Novak, a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report, also rated Hostettler's seat a likely win for Ellsworth.
Ellsworth won a landslide victory on November 7, 2006. He took 61% of the vote to Hostettler's 39%, which was by far the largest defeat for a House incumbent in the 2006 election. The seat was the first of 30 to flip from Republican to Democratic in the 2006 cycle.
Two years later, on November 4, 2008, Ellsworth won reelection, easily defeating Republican candidate Greg Goode 65% to 35%.
On February 19, 2010, Ellsworth announced his candidacy in the 2010 U.S. Senate election for the seat in the United States Senate held by Democrat Evan Bayh, who was retiring. Since Bayh made his announcement the day before the deadline for filing for the primary, no Democrat was able to gather a sufficient number of signatures to qualify for the primary ballot, forcing the Democratic state committee to choose the Senate nominee. Ultimately, the committee chose Ellsworth.
He was defeated in the November election by Dan Coats, who had previously held the seat from 1989 to 1999, taking 40 percent of the vote. Ellsworth even lost his own congressional district; he carried Vigo County (home to Terre Haute) but failed to carry his home county of Vanderburgh. State representative Trent Van Haaften replaced Ellsworth on the ballot for the 8th, but lost to Republican Larry Bucshon with only 37 percent of the vote. The Democrats have only crossed the 40 percent mark in the district only once since Ellsworth left office.
|Republican||John Hostettler (incumbent)||83,704||39.0%|
|Democratic gain from Republican||Swing|
|Democratic||Brad Ellsworth (incumbent)||188,693||64.7%||+3.7%|
|Republican gain from Democratic||Swing|
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 8th congressional district
|Party political offices|
| Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Indiana