Donnelly wins Senate race over Mourdock

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Democrat Joe Donnelly defeated Richard Mourdock for an open U.S. Senate seat in Indiana, one of Republicans’ must-win races in their effort to gain control of the chamber.

The contest between Mourdock, the state treasurer, and Donnelly, a three-term U.S. congressman, gave Democrats an opportunity to claim a long-held Republican seat. Mourdock, 61, an anti-tax Tea Party favorite, used an anti-Washington, D.C., message to defeat six-term Republican Senator Richard Lugar by 20 percentage points in the party primary in May.

Much of the race hinged on whether Mourdock could win over voters who supported Lugar for 36 years. Lugar declined to campaign for Mourdock. The senator’s spokesman, Andy Fisher, said Mourdock “perpetuated misleading statements” about Lugar during the primary campaign.

Further imperiling his candidacy, Mourdock said in a debate with Donnelly, 57, two weeks before the election that "even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen.”

Donnelly’s campaign website called Mourdock’s statement part of a “troubling pattern of extreme positions.”

Mourdock stood by his position while apologizing for his “less than fully articulate use of words.” The fallout spilled into the presidential campaign as Democrats called on Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to denounce Mourdock’s comments and revoke his endorsement of the Senate candidate.

Romney’s campaign said he disagreed with Mourdock’s statement though he wouldn’t take back his endorsement.

Andrew Horning, the Libertarian candidate who hasn’t held elective office, may have also hurt Mourdock. He peeled off about 6 percent of the vote that might have gone for the Republican.

During a series of debates during the race, Horning mocked the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as an effort to root out individuals who wear “exploding underpants.”


  • Seriously, Dave?
    So why don't we do away with primaries and just let the "party establishment" decide who runs? No need to give the people a voice, is there?
  • Seriously
    Anyone who can in good conscience blame the party establishment for this loss is delusional. The party establishment didn't want this guy they wanted Richard Lugar. The party establishment was embarrassed by the brilliant people who elected Murdock in the primary and more embarrassed by the case of foot-in-mouth disease that they had forced upon them. This one falls squarely on the shoulders of the "Tea Party." You people want everyone to be accountable for their actions, it's time you start doing that as well.
    • Mourdock
      How can anyone with a clear conscience support Mourdock? He single handedly lost a republican seat in the senate and may have affected the presidential race. The east coast was flooded with anti-Romney ads that featured Mourdock's stupid rape comments. Everyone, including Mitt should have distanced themselves from this moron.
    • No change in Senate seat
      Scapegoating the Tea Party for the GOP's refusal to support their nominee for the Senate is mendacious. A year ago, over 70 Indiana Republican County Chairmen asked Lugar to resign (at age 80)to clear the way for a more energetic candidate who actually lived in Indiana, and reflected much more accurately the position of a large majority of Indiana Republicans. Lugar refused. He was crushed by over 200,000 votes in the primary, and then refused to support the Party's nominee for the office. Not only Lugar, buy Senator Dan Coats and Governor Mitch Daniels refused to support their own party's nominee. Daniels, who had wrung out all of the personal gain available to him from his party involvement, could not even be bothered to attend the election night GOP event. Don't talk about 'walking away from the party'....that is a joke.
      • Not the Tea Party
        I am not endorsing the Tea Party, but to quote Jerry Throgmartin, CEO and Chairman, HH Gregg, "Your competitor doesn't put you out of business, you put yourself out of business by not delivering what the customers want."
      • Congratulations
        I would personally like to congratulate those wonderful people in the "Tea Party" for handing the Democrats 2 more U.S. Senate seats on a silver platter yesterday. Murdock and Akin may be fine men but neither has what it took to legislate in the Senate. At what point will this group of whackos realize that they can do more good by working within the Republican party instead of against it. It is time that my party walk away from this group and try to be more inclusive, not exclusive. The paltry number of votes we received from the hispanic and black communities are shameful.
        • a big change
        • a big change
          This seat was held by Republican Richard Lugar for more than a quarter centure. It is now held by Democrat Joe Donnely. this is indeed a big change.
          • No Biggie
            So this seat stays in Democratice control. No big change.

            Post a comment to this story

            We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
            You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
            Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
            No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
            We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

            Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

            Sponsored by

            facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

            Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
            Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
            Subscribe to IBJ