Donnelly edges out Mourdock in US Senate race
More than $50-million was spent by the Democrats, Republicans and super PACs trying to win Richard Lugar's Senate seat. In the end, Democrat Joe Donnelly beat Republican Richard Mourdock with 50-percent of the vote.
The state treasurer who unseated Lugar in the GOP primary took 44-percent.
A triumphant Donnelly promised to bring "Hoosier common sense" to Washington, DC as he addressed supporters during a victory speech Tuesday night.
Democrats said Donnelly ran a "flawless campaign."
After Mourdock upset longtime incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar in the primary, Democrats focused on the seat, which for years had been out of reach, as a possibility.
The race tightened up considerably in recent weeks, and Mourdock appeared to lose ground when he made remarks in a debate in New Albany that pregnancy resulting from rape was something that God intended to happen.
But after his victory speech, Donnelly told us that was no longer his focus. "I know that we need to focus on the future," he said. "And I think we are a model for the rest of the country, which is Hoosier Common Sense."
Donnelly said the way forward was through bipartisanship and for him to be the "best Joe Donnelly I can be" when he was asked about Mourdock's comments. Former Sen. Evan Bayh called the comments a "game-changer."
Mourdock said he stayed true to his values in defeat, "As I will look back on this night, over the weeks, the months, the years ahead, I will look back knowing that I was attacked for standing for my principles."
"I want to thank Mr. Mourdock and his family, Mr. Horning and his family, for a spirited campaign," Donnelly said in his acceptance speech. "Thank you very much for applauding for them. And I want to thank the most patient spouse in the state of Indiana, my wife. And the rest of my family who is here tonight, I haven't seen them very much. They told me I looked older and more worn out, is what they said."
Donnelly pressed ahead with his plans once he gets to Washington.
"But this is about our future. The chance for good jobs. To see our economy grow. To work together in Washington. We can solve these problems. We can solve the budget deficit problem. We can solve the problem of making sure our men and women come home from Afghanistan. We have the best soldiers, airmen, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, in the world and we owe a debt of gratitude to them we can never repay," he said.
He also stressed bipartisanship and paid tribute to Sens. Lugar and Bayh.
"And you know, we have a tradition in Indiana, in the United States Senate. And that tradition are people like Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh who worked together. Whose only focus is on what's right for our country," Donnelly said.
"And so I say to all of my fellow Hoosiers out there, this isn't about politics. This isn't about one party or the other. Our tradition of men and women, tremendous servants everywhere, people like Richard Lugar who gave his heart and soul to this country: in the Navy, as mayor of Indianapolis, as a Senator for our state. That's the model that we have."
"Senator Bayh, who was governor and senator, and to everyone out there, I'm not going there as one party senator or another party senator, I'm going there as your senator to work for your family. I'm not hired help and I can't wait to get to work. Thank you so very, very much, I appreciate it."
Mourdock said to his supporters:
"The thing that has given me the most satisfaction and indeed the most inspiration is having spoken to so many Hoosiers over the last six months that I've talked to for only a moment, and I hear a different accent in their voice. They're not the people who were born as most of us were in the United States of America. They were born in other places around the world and they came to this country and they expressed their love of country in a way that exceeds that most of us do who are natural-born Americans. What I kept hearing in their voices over the last few weeks and months has been their concern that this country might in fact be slipping back into the kind of government and governing that they worked so hard to leave. As I stand here tonight and as I contemplate all that's happening especially with the Senate races across the United States, I fear a bit and share even more their concern."
Tuesday's result was markedly closer than a recent Howey-DePauw poll that put Donnelly ahead of Mourdock by 11 points.
As his first act as Senator-elect, Donnelly will visit The Roost in Fishers this morning at 10:00 a.m. to discuss his thoughts on the future.