Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly will be the next senator from Indiana, having beaten out State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, according to Fox News.
Indiana is a red state, and the win seems to be more of an indictment of Mourdock than a victory for Donnelly. The Democratic congressman will fill the seat currently held by Sen. Dick Lugar, who lost to Mourdock in a particularly bitter primary.
The two have run neck-and-neck for the past few months. In a state that both Romney and Rep. Mike Pence, the Republican candidate for governor, were expected to easily win, Mourdock was underperforming.
Donnelly ran as a centrist, repeatedly highlighting disagreements he had with President Barack Obama, and at one point questioning whether he would vote for Sen. Harry Reid for majority leader if elected to the Senate. Mourdock and Republicans, meanwhile, spent the election cycle tying Donnelly to Obama.
Mourdock, a hard-line tea partier who once described his ideal version of bipartisanship as “a conservative majority in the U.S. Senate so bipartisanship becomes Democrats joining Republicans to roll back the size of government,” also struggled to win over Indiana Republicans who supported the more moderate Lugar.
In late October, during the final debate between the two candidates, the pro-life Mourdock explained his belief that there should be no exceptions for abortion in cases of rape rather inartfully, saying, “I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
Mourdock got slammed for the comment – which many took to mean he believed that God intended for rape to happen (Mourdock said that was not the case), and Democrats hit him with a constant barrage of ads featuring that comment in the final weeks of the race.
Evidently, those ads worked.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am that Joe Donnelly is going to be the next senator from the state of Indiana,” said Sen. Patty Murray, Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “Joe will be the kind of bipartisan, independent leader that Hoosiers want. He will stand up to extremism and forge compromise in a place that badly needs it. We were behind Joe from the very beginning, even when the pundits counted him out. But the voters of Indiana saw exactly what I saw. Joe is an honest, honorable, hardworking public servant, who will work with anyone to do what’s right for the people of his state, and he is going to be a great senator.”
In his statement, Mourdock thanked his supporters and family, but did not mention Donnelly by name, nor he directly mention that he had an opponent.
“Today, Hoosiers made their voices heard,” he said. “The American voting process and our peaceful exchange of power is one of the rarest and therefore most valuable the world has ever seen … My travels around our great state and the people I’ve been able to meet have been incredibly rewarding experiences that I will treasure always. I extend my sincerest thanks to all those who walked this journey with me. Thank you.”