Unlike other Great Lakes states, Indiana never developed a strong Democratic tilt. The reason is reasonably simple: Unlike Wisconsin, Ohio and Illinois, it never drew many immigrants from southern and eastern Europe. The exceptions were mostly found in northern Indiana, where immigrants often decamped to work in industrial plants for companies such as Studebaker.
But immigration to places like South Bend never came close to matching that of places like Pittsburgh, Cleveland or Chicago, and so loyalty to the Democratic Party likewise never reached the levels in those cities. Instead, north-central Indiana became a swing region of the state, electing committed economic liberals (like Majority Whip John Brademas), conservatives such as current Club for Growth President Chris Chocola, and moderates such as Tim Roemer.
Redistricting in 2010 made the district more Republican than its previous iterations, and Jackie Walorski, a steadfast conservative, won it in 2012. She has a credible opponent in Notre Dame professor Joe Bock, but the national environment and lean of the district make this a hard climb.