(AP) — Indiana voters’ independent streak was on display Tuesday as the
conservative state chose Republicans Mitt Romney for president and Mike
Pence to replace popular GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels, but rejected a tea
party-backed Senate candidate and ousted the state’s top education official.
Indiana to the Republican column in the presidential race after President
Barack Obama’s surprise 2008 victory, while moderate Democrat Joe Donnelly
was elected to the Senate after beating Republican Richard Mourdock, whose
candidacy stumbled on a series of missteps following his primary upset of
longtime U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar.
dealt a blow to the tea party, which had hoped to snag one of its biggest
campaign prizes with a Mourdock victory. Nonetheless, the stage is set for a
conservative Statehouse that could continue the policies started under
“At least there
will be some continuity,” said Harry Gaunt, an 81-year-old ex-Marine and
Indianapolis jeweler who voted for Pence.
made gains in Indiana’s U.S. House delegation and the General Assembly, but
several Statehouse races were too close to call Tuesday, and it was unclear
whether the GOP would have a supermajority in the House.
Democratic upset, Glenda Ritz beat Republican state school Superintendent
Tony Bennett, whom teachers had opposed because of sweeping changes he has
pushed in the state’s schools.
Republican primary in May, Mourdock knocked off Lugar, a six-term Senator,
but he couldn’t translate that win into a general election victory,
especially after his comments during an Oct. 23 debate that a pregnancy
resulting from rape is “something God intended.”
three-term Democratic congressman from northern Indiana, drew support from
Lugar backers and Mourdock opponents. With most precincts reporting,
Donnelly collected 50 percent of the vote to Mourdock’s 44 percent.
Janet Sutton, of
Indianapolis, said she voted for Lugar in the primary and Donnelly on
Tuesday, even though she wanted Republicans to win a majority in the Senate.
“I sat in there
quite a while trying to figure out which way I was going to go,” said
Sutton, who is in her 60s. “I did not like some of the issues Mourdock had.”
42, of Osceola in northern Indiana, also voted for Donnelly.
“That’s just a
stupid comment,” she said of Mourdock’s debate statement. “God would not
want that to happen. Being someone who took a long time to get pregnant, I
don’t believe God makes (a) decision on that.”
Romney’s win in
Indiana was founded on support from whites, conservatives, voters older than
40 and people with family incomes of at least $50,000. Obama, who in 2008
gave Democrats their first Indiana presidential ticket victory since 1964,
lost ground with younger people and those with incomes of more than
picked up one seat in the state’s congressional delegation, with former
state Rep. Jackie Walorski’s victory over Brendan Mullen in the 2nd
District. All of the state’s congressional incumbents won re-election, and
Republicans Susan Brooks and Luke Messer picked up open seats in the 5th and
6th Districts, respectively.
the state schools post, Ritz said parents, as well as teachers, disliked
Bennett’s agenda, which she saw as more political than educational.
Voting was heavy
across the state but went smoothly for the most part, said Valerie Kroeger,
a spokeswoman for the Indiana secretary of state’s office.
There were a few
wrinkles, however. A bank robbery and shootout in Muncie made it difficult
for voters to get to one polling site, and election officials in Bloomington
said a misleading email caused confusion over where Indiana University
students were supposed to vote.
voting delays were reported in heavily Republican Hamilton County just north
of Indianapolis, where voters were still standing in line at some sites an
hour after the deadline for polls to close passed. Officials there said the
lines were due more to voter turnout than to a technical glitch that delayed
the start of voting at some sites.