Terre Haute attorney joins 8th District race

By THOMAS B. LANGHORNE
Evansville Courier & Press

Terre Haute attorney William Tanoos, a Democrat and star of a 2014 feature film, has joined next year’s race to represent Indiana’s 8th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Tanoos

The seat is held by Republican Rep. Larry Bucshon, who already faces a challenge for the GOP nomination from Jasper doctor Richard Moss, who also challenged him in 2016.

Evansville resident Glen Miller also plans to join the Democratic nomination race, with other candidates possible before the Feb. 9 filing deadline. Party primaries will be held on May 8.

The 8th District includes most counties in Southwest Indiana, including Dubois.

Tanoos, 34, told the Courier & Press that he would be a champion of the middle class in Congress, which he said is filled with politicians who have lost touch. He lamented “policies that have favored special interests” at middle class residents’ expense.

“I found this is the right time to try to take the message and say that I want to rebuild and work to strengthen the middle class,” Tanoos said. “I believe that the middle class is the driver of this country — particularly in economics, but just also in building communities and strengthening families and basically, working men and women.”

Tanoos has said his work as a disability attorney and the 2010 health care law, which Bucshon voted to repeal, also are inspirations for his campaign. The Affordable Care Act, he said, must not be weakened. Tanoos also has vowed to make income inequality an issue in his campaign.

The new candidate has an unusual item on his resume. He co-wrote, directed, produced and starred in the 2014 film “The Drunk,” which was filmed in the Terre Haute area.

“It kind of is a fictional account of a young guy who runs for office, and he’s the fictional grandson of (Socialist leader) Eugene Debs,” Tanoos said. “I filmed it in Terre Haute exclusively, used Terre Haute locales and businesses, employed Terre Haute folks.

“It was a dream. I followed a dream and tried to get in the business, was fortunate enough to make a movie and realized once I had a young family myself, it was time to focus on really what I probably always was interested in, which is political life. That’s why I’m taking this leap now.”

Film website imdb.com reports the 90-minute movie had an estimated $1 million budget and co-starred actor Tom Sizemore, who has appeared in such films as “Saving Private Ryan,” “Heat” and “Black Hawk Down.”

“When Joe Debs (Tanoos’s character), the hard-drinking grandson of legendary labor leader and founder of the Socialist Party in America Eugene V. Debs, gets arrested for drunk driving, he chalks it up to just another casualty in his long and illustrious drinking career,” imdb reported.

“But as he soon discovers that the corrupt prosecuting attorney is trying to put him in jail for political reasons, Joe decides to run against him for the Democratic nomination for governor. During the tumultuous campaign, Joe discovers the trials and tribulations of politics, building a great appreciation for his grandfather’s legacy, but an even greater understanding of himself.”

Tanoos, a self-described first-time candidate, faces a stiff challenge in the 8th District race. Most political handicappers believe Bucshon’s congressional seat is safe territory for Republicans, but Democrats have fielded at least one candidate in all four of the veteran congressman’s campaigns.




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