GOP Seizes Walkout-Proof Majority in General Assembly
Republicans gain 9 House seats, maintain margin in Senate
Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) (WIBC.com file photo: Eric Berman)
Both parties found something to cheer about in Indiana's election results.
Mike Pence kept control of the governorship in Republican hands while the G-O-P seized ironclad control of both houses of the General Assembly. The G-O-P gained nine seats in the Indiana House for a walkout-proof 69-31 majority, after two consecutive sessions disrupted by Democrats leaving the floor.
But Democrat Joe Donnelly defeated Richard Mourdock for the U-S Senate seat of Richard Lugar, whose 36-year Senate career ended with his loss to Mourdock in the Republican primary. And Indianapolis teacher Glenda Ritz pulled the shocker of the evening, unseating state school superintendent Tony Bennett.
Ritz is the first Democrat to win a statewide election in Indiana for a non-federal office since Governor Frank O'Bannon's 2000 reelection.
Pence fended off a late charge by former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg to win with 49.6% of the vote. He'll have broad latitude to advance his legislative agenda, though House and Senate leaders have already signaled possible breaks with the governor-elect's priorities, offering only lukewarm support for Pence's call for a 10-percent tax cut.
Republicans clinched the House supermajority despite apparently losing two seats in Indianapolis, with returns showing Representative Cindy Noe losing to Democrat Christina Hale by 44 votes while Karlee Macer claimed the seat of retiring Republican Phil Hinkle. Another Republican incumbent, Jasonville's Bruce Borders, lost by 89 votes to Vincennes Representative Kreg Battles, in the only incumbent-versus-incumbent contest in the state.
But the G-O-P began the evening with a two-seat gain in the bank, with candidates unopposed for newly created seats in Fishers and Bremen. They added to those gains by ousting Representative Peggy Welch (D-Bloomington), Win Moses (D-Fort Wayne) and Phil Pflum (D-Milton). And Republicans captured two more new seats and four open seats created by Democratic retirements.
Republicans maintained their 37-13 margin in the Senate, with Indianapolis Senator Scott Schneider surviving the closest race, edging Tim DeLaney by 914 votes.
Republicans gained one seat in Congress, with Jackie Walorski defeating Democrat Brendan Mullen in an unexpectedly close race to replace Donnelly as Second District Representative. Walorski won by a single point, 49-48%, after losing to Donnelly 48-47% two years ago.
The rest of the congressional delegation remained unchanged, with landslide victories in most districts and a 10-point win for Republican Congressman Larry Bucshon in the Eighth District.