FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Knock, knock. Who's there? Third district congressional candidate Tom Hayhurst. The Democratic nominee returned to Fort Wayne Sunday afternoon to complete his tour of the eight counties he hopes to represent. Hayhurst has spent the past three weekends on his "Walk Across the District" tour.
After hours of going to door-to-door, Hayhurst made his final stop at his campaign headquarters in Fort Wayne just after noon Sunday. It's part of how the Fort Wayne doctor has been preparing for his November run against Republican Marlin Stutzman.
Hayhurst was joined by numerous volunteers on his tour around the third district. The group spent around four hours in each county trying to win over voters before this fall's U.S. House election.
The campaign has more than 800 volunteers total, although just over one dozen came to help Hayhurst knock on Allen County doors Sunday.
Jason Kingsbury, Hayhurst's Campaign Manager, says, "One day we'll go to a couple counties, spend four hours in each county knocking on doors, and Tom's leading the charge. He has more energy than a lot of the people working for him.
The Democratic candidate says his goal on this tour was to find out the priorities of the people he hopes to represent.
"We talked not just to Democrats. We talked to Independents. We talked to Republicans. I'd say I'm getting a lot of good feedback throughout the region. People are very upset about all the jobs that are being shipped out - shipped overseas many of them. They've lost their jobs. They're really hurting," says Hayhurst.
He says it's a problem he's heard from about 90% of the people he's talked with.
"Regarding jobs in Fort Wayne, we're definitely hurting. It's the same problem in all of these eight counties. Again, I think I have some good ideas, and I'm listening for other ideas about how we can get our economy turned around."
Hayhurst says he'll address job creation with foreign trade policy reform, green energy technology, and increased rail construction.
He also wants voters to know that he's not a career politician. He points out that his opponent, Republican Marlin Stutzman, has run for multiple elected offices in recent years. Most recently, Stutzman tried to capture his party's nomination in the U.S. Senate race, but lost out to former U.S. Senator Dan Coats. Stutzman did eventually get the backing of the Republican party over several other hopefuls in this House race. The vacancy was the result of former Representative Mark Souder's resignation amid revelations of an affair.
Kingsbury says Hayhurst has several other advantages as well. He says not only does Hayhurst's campaign have about six times as much money as Stutzman's, but Hayhurst has also had significantly more time to campaign.
But the day is still young when it comes to this election, so only time will tell what voters decide on November's ballot.
So what's the next step for Hayhurst's campaign? He says he is going to start the tour all over again next weekend and continue reaching out to members of community throughout campaign season.
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