House District 12 encompasses parts of Hammond, Munster, Highland and Griffith in Lake County. The district has been represented since 2012 by Democrat Mara Candelaria Reardon, except for a two-year interval after she lost a bid for reelection in 2014.In 2019, Reardon faced statewide publicity as she was among four women to accuse Attorney General Curtis Hill of inappropriate advances at a party in an Indianapolis tavern. In 2020, she opted against seeking reelection to run for the Democratic nomination to succeed outgoing U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky in the 1st Congressional District; she finished fifth among the 14 primary candidates.
The contest to succeed Reardon will be between Democrat Mike Andrade and Republican Tom Wichlinski. Wichlinski ran unopposed in the Republican primary election. He has a background working as a management partner for Northwoods Development, LLC. and currently serves as the secretary on the town of Griffith Board of Zoning Appeals. Wichlinski also has a Bachelor’s degree in Building Construction from Purdue University.
Andrade, born in Pilsen, is an entrepreneur and says he recognized his interest in politics at a young age. His main platform topics are better pay for teachers, equitable retirement plan and appropriate funding for first responders, training programs for small business owners, living wages and job security for unions and working families, proper resources and affordable healthcare for the senior citizens and mental health services, jobs and housing opportunities for veterans.
Except for Candelaria Reardon’s upset loss in 2014, the district has favored Democrats. After winning the seat back in 2016, she ran unopposed for reelection in 2018. The most recent filing of campaign finance reports shows Andrade with a significant advantage in fundraising. – Emily Schabes