Democrat Joe Donnelly triumphed Tuesday in one of the nation’s most tumultuous Senate races, capitalizing on fallout over his tea party-backed opponent’s comment that a pregnancy resulting from rape is “something God intended” to capture a seat that just a year ago looked to be a lock for Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar.
Donnelly beat state treasurer Richard Mourdock after a bruising campaign that saw outside groups pump millions of dollars into the state in a race viewed by many as a test of the tea party’s strength.
The victory was a coup for Democrats, who had been waiting years for a shot at the seat. Lugar was so popular that in 2006 Democrats decided not to challenge him.
Even a year ago, Lugar seemed a safe bet to win a seventh term, despite widespread conservative anger with the veteran statesman’s votes on divisive legislation and his support for President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominees. But questions about Lugar’s residency combined with a flood of outside spending by groups such as the anti-tax Club for Growth carried Mourdock to a 20-point victory in the May primary.
Here’s how Johnson County voted in the Senate race:
Joe Donnelly (D) 37%
Andrew “Andy” Horning (L) 8%
Richard E. Mourdock (R) 55%
Democrats pounced on the opportunity as Mourdock made a series of quick missteps that alarmed more moderate Republicans. In a series of interviews the day after his primary victory, Mourdock said compromise should consist of Democrats bowing to Republican demands and stood by tea party views popular with the base of conservative voters, but not the general populace.
“To me the highlight of politics, frankly, is to inflict my opinion on someone else,” he said the day after the primary.
Mourdock later tried to tack back toward the middle with declarations that he could work with Democrats, but he stumbled again in a televised Oct. 23 debate when he explained his opposition to abortion except in cases in which the mother’s life is in danger.
“I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And, I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen,” Mourdock said.
Democrats spent millions of dollars flooding the airwaves with those comments and other Mourdock statements.
For all the Mourdock campaign said about the comment not mattering to voters and arguing that the electorate was more concerned with “Obamacare” and federal spending, voters said it still weighed on their minds in the voting booth.
Kaye Young, 78, of Indianapolis voted for Lugar in the primary and said she thought it was “a shame they kicked him out.”
HOW YOU VOTED
Here’s a look at election results from Johnson County. Note: Results from other counties not included.
President and vice president
Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, R 39,136
Barack Obama, Joe Biden, D 17,080
Gary Johnson, James P. Gray, L 1,146
Richard E. Mourdock, R 31,196
Joe Donnelly, D 21,056
Andrew “Andy” Horning, L 4,258
U.S. representative, 9th District
Todd Young, R 38,647
Shelli Yoder, D 17,297
Governor and lieutenant governor
Mike Pence, Sue Ellspermann, R 35,805
John R. Gregg, Vi Simpson, D 18,097
Rupert Boneham, Brad Klopfenstein, L 3,231
Greg Zoeller, R 40,943
Kay Fleming, D 14,820
Superintendent of public instruction
Tony Bennett, R 33,533
Glenda Ritz, D 22,440
State senator District 36
Brent Waltz, R 3,625
Mary Ann Sullivan, D 1,799
State senator District 37
Rodric D. Bray, R 12,325
Jim S. Cahill, D 4,509
State representative District 47
John Price, R 15,116
Chris Grider, D 6,293
State representative Distrct 58
Woody Burton, R 18,912
State representative District 65
Eric A. Koch, R 1,820
Al Cox, L 416
State representative District 93
David N. Frizzell, R 5,433
Ryan Guillory, D 1,933
Indiana Supreme Court
Shall Justice Steven H. David be retained in office?
Shall Justice Robert D. Rucker be retained in office?
Indiana Court of Appeals
Shall Judge John G. Baker be retained in office?
Shall Judge Nancy H. Vaidik be retained in office?
Judge of the Circuit Court 8th Circuit
K. Mark Loyd, R 44,054
Judge of the Superior Court No. 1
Kevin M. Barton, R 43,447
Diane L. Edwards, R 44,463
Craig A. Lutz, R 44,313
Douglas K. Lechner, R 44,186
Commissioner District 1
Brian P. Baird, R 44,104
Commissioner District 3
Ronald H. “Ron” West, R 38,201
Daniel S. Hardcastle Sr., D 15,874
John Myers, R 39,861
Loren A. Snyder, R 39,253
Wm. Brian Walker, R 37,365
Center Grove at-large (top 2 elected)
Matt Prusiecki 6,217
Rob Richards 8,935
Carol Tumey 11,811
Clark-Pleasant at-large (top 1 elected)
Duane T. “Tom” Hogue 2,482
James W. Klenner 1,223
Howard L. Young 2,084
Vernon S. “Butch” Zike, Jr. 2,736
Clark-Pleasant, Pleasant Township
E. Curtis Harris 7,548
Edinburgh, town of Edinburgh seat
(top 2 elected)
Cathy J. Hamm 864
William F. “Bill” Jones 578
Alice Nancy Taulman 906
Franklin, City of Franklin seat
(top 2 elected)
D. Christopher Bass 2,019
Larry G. Cheek 1,911
Cory C. Cooper 1,855
Kristine Ott 3,952
Joseph Skeel 1,538
Bryan Wertz 3,618
Franklin, Franklin Township seat (top 1 elected)
Timothy J. Lavery 2,584
William A. Maschmeyer 5,194
Greenwood, District 1 seat
Joseph W. Farley 5,871
Greenwood, District 3 seat
Steve Moan 5,938
Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson, at-large seat (Waltz and one other elected)
Joseph M. “Joey” Dallas 1,766
Ed Harvey 1,194
Greg Waltz 1,715
Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson, Nineveh Township seat
Sam Hoagland, Sr. 642
Kathy Vest 832