The seas of change were in store for Indiana one way or another on election Tuesday, as the state was assured a new governor and new senator.
Much of the national focus centered in on the state as the senatorial battle between Republican nominee Richard Mourdock, Democrat Joe Donnelly, and Libertarian Andrew Horning.
Mourdock fared well within Hendricks County lines, carrying more than 54 percent of the vote, yet Donnelly won the U.S. Senate seat for the state.
“Joe’s win is a reflection that Hoosiers want some Hoosier common sense in Washington. They don’t care about party, they care about who is going to get the job done,” said Ben Ray, press secretary for the Indiana Democratic Party.
He said Donnelly’s chief task will be job creation.
“Joe’s one focus is making sure every Hoosier that wants a job has a job,” he promised.
Horning saw a successful campaign as a third party candidate but expressed regret that his message did not get out as well as he hoped, and urges Hoosiers to look deeper into the issues that are rarely talked about.
“It’s frustrating because you always have hopes that people are going to crack that status quo habit. Yet they keep doing the same thing expecting better results,” Horning said, noting that he doubled his numbers in 2012 from any past election he’d been a part of. “Every election cycle I hear the same words, that this time it’s too close, too important, they’ll vote Libertarian next time. It’s not like we ever change our tune though. It’s always been the Constitution against all the networks. But this is the best I’ve ever done and I can’t complain about that at all.”
In the gubernatorial race, Republican-elect Mike Pence cruised in Hendricks County, holding more than 61 percent of the vote, distancing himself from Democrat John Gregg and Libertarian Rupert Boneham.
Pence’s Hendricks County Coordinator, Rob Kendall, complimented Gregg and said Hoosiers could look forward to Pence’s leadership.
“Mike Pence is a charismatic figure, a guy that has Hoosier values and knows how to express them,” Kendall said. “He knows how to represent this state. Anytime you can get government out of the way and empower people, that’s a good thing, and that’s what Mike has been about this entire career.
“I think Pence knew from the beginning that Gregg was going to run a great race and fight for every vote and he did just that. That’s why everyone has worked so hard over the past year.”
Todd Rokita kept his seat in the House in District 4 easing to a win over Tara Nelson (D).
Rokita applauded Hoosiers for allowing him another opportunity to tackle the issues in Washington, but said that Congress alone cannot fix what ails, and the real power is in informing voters to make their own decisions, something he hopes he continues to do.
“It’s an emotional night and there’s a lot of pride running through me and I’m humbled to get the chance to continue representing the people of Hendricks County and Indiana on serious issues, but at the same time a there’s feeling of humility that this is a process that isn’t universally practiced around the world. The power is with the people. I’m deeply humbled,” he said. “I give a lot of credit to Hoosier voters and taxpayers. I think that if you tell them the truth, they’ll reward the truth and they’ll act on it. Every generation of Hoosiers and Americans want the next generation to be better off.”
Rokita said Indiana has proven to be a sustainable model that the nation can look to emulate.
“We were $100s of millions in debt, now we’re in surplus,” he said. “We don’t need Obamacare. We created the Healthy Indiana Plan covering 40,000 more Hoosiers and became one of the top 10 states in job creation. Now we can use this as a model.”
In other local races, Republicans Greg Steuerwald (District 40), Jeffrey Thompson (District 28), and Robert Behning (District 91) earned State Representative seats.
Republicans Pete Miller and Michael Young both led in their State Senator elections handily as of press time as well.
In the superintendent of public education race, Glenda Ritz unseated Tony Bennett, who carried more than 57 percent of the vote in the county. Bennett conceded the race just before 11 p.m.