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INDIANAPOLIS | Joel Phelps defeated Dave Wenger on Tuesday in the Republican primary for Indiana's 1st Congressional District, which includes Lake and Porter counties and eastern LaPorte county.

Phelps, 35, an industrial engineer, will oppose 14-term U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville, in the Nov. 6 general election. Visclosky, 62, was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Phelps said he was heartened by Richard Mourdock's victory over a long-term incumbent in the Republican U.S. Senate race Tuesday and said he hopes to similarly dislodge Visclosky.

"I'm really excited; I know what we've got ahead of us, I know what we've got to do and we're charged up and ready to go," Phelps said.

Starting on Thursday, the Portage Republican said he will visit every small business in the district, which will help him discover what business owners need government to do for them and find out what government can stop doing to them.

"I really want to learn the hearts and the minds and the dreams of the people here in my district so that when we do beat Pete Visclosky we can represent this district in a way he never has," Phelps said.

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