Mike Braun (left) defeated Joe Donnelly (right) in the Indiana US Senate race. Photo courtesy NBC News.
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Republican Mike Braun defeated incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly for Indiana’s United States Senate seat that was up for grabs in the midterm election.
Multiple news outlets called the race around 9:20 p.m., and Donnelly conceded victory around 9:30 p.m.
“I want to thank all Hoosiers for giving me a resounding victory — putting your faith in me,” Braun said in his victory speech. “I will not let you down. I promise.”
Donnelly, who will not serve as an elected official for the first time since 2007, spoke for two minutes and pledged to help Braun transition into the Senate.
“We had the chance to serve everybody across our state,” Donnelly said in his concession speech. “The people of our state are so wonderful. I called Mike Braun to let him know I’ll be there to make sure there is a smooth transition.”
Braun served one term in the Indiana House of Representatives and is a business owner from Jasper. His opponent was a one-term senator. Before that, Donnelly served in the United States House of Representatives. Donnelly was the first incumbent to lose re-election in the midterms.
As for how the election results impact Butler directly, it’s hard to tell. Generally, college campuses lean democratic, and Butler is located in a more democratic city within a republican state. James Cecil, president of Butler College Republicans, said she believes the university’s republican-leaning donor network will help Butler stand on its own.
“I think Butler University thrives on its own in the sense that it’s a private university within a very democratic city, and in the sense that it has democratic influence and there is liberal influence, but a lot of our donors tend to go on the conservative side,” she said. “So while yes Braun winning does turn the tables for the state of Indiana as a whole, I believe Butler University will strive just on the views of our donors.”
While many students come from Indiana, Taylor Dickerson, vice president of Butler College Democrats, points out that a lot of Butler students come from out of state. She said she is unsure how the election will effect individual students not from Indiana.
“It’s hard to say the immediate impact for Butler, because a lot of people are from different areas,” Dickerson said. “A lot of people are from Chicago suburbs and different areas of the country. Not all people are directly impacted.”
The loss means that there are no Democrats in a statewide elected office in Indiana. Cecil said she sees that as an opportunity for all of Indiana’s representatives to work together.
“I I think it will show both Indiana voters and furthermore United States voters that when you do have a group of elected officials that work together in the House and the Senate that is when the job is truly going to get done,” she said.
Braun’s election will add to a larger Republican majority in the Senate, while the Democratic Party will take control of the House. The Indiana Senate seat was seen as an important election. President Donald Trump made four trips to Indiana to rally for Braun, and former President Barrack Obama visited Indiana to rally for Donnelly.
“We knew the Indiana race would be close,” Dickerson said. “I don’t you let this race define the election. I think that people should 100 percent continue to vote. There are a lot of 2019 local elections, and of course 2020 is the presidential election. I think people should not get down and keep voting, because the turnout has been amazing everywhere.”
Braun will start his six-year term in the Senate in January.
News editor Meghan Stratton contributed to this story.