Donnelly loses as Democrats fail to flip U.S. Senate in record breaking midterm election
By David Denson
Lake County Commissioner Kyle Allen was reelected Tuesday, November as a handful of new and veteran Black candidates gained positions in local and state offices during a midterm election that drew record turnouts throughout the country.
Allen defeated former Gary Police Chief Douglas Wright, taking 81percent of the vote.
In the race for Indiana House of Representative incumbents Earl Harris Jr. and Dr. Vernon G. Smith were both unopposed. They will be joined in next year’s legislative session by incoming freshman Representative Ragen Hatcher, who also run unopposed.
Former State Representative Charlie Brown became County Council Member for District 3 after he ran unopposed in the midterm election. Brown will join veteran county council member Elsie Franklin who won reelection to another term.
Senator Joe Donnelly’s lost his bid for reelection to businessman and former state legislator Mike Braun. The official results show Braun grabbed 54 percent of the vote to Donnelly’s 42 percent.
Donnelly’s supporters in Indiana were disappointed and Democrats nationwide closely watched their chance to take the U.S. Senate slip away on an election night where Democrats seize the House by flipping 29 seats as of Crusader press time Wednesday. The Democrats had a chance to control the U.S. Senate, but that effort fell through late into election night.
Donnelly, an Indiana Democrat, held a seat that was viewed as one that was considered a tossup, however party officials believed that it could hold onto the seat and pick up seats in other areas.
In Democrat-majority Lake County, Donnelly easily beat Braun, grabbing 64 percent of the vote to his opponent’s 34 percent.
Viewed as a centrist, Donnelly’s campaign focused on health care and in his political ads boasted about being the deciding vote to save the Affordable Care Act.
Although he also pointed to a willingness to work with President Donald Trump, Donnelly was targeted by Republicans in this year’s Midterm Election.
Braun’s campaign was helped by visits from Trump during the closing weeks of the campaign. Donnelly picked up support from former President Barack Obama, who campaigned with Donnelly in Gary two days prior to the election.
Donnelly also was helped by State Senator Eddie Melton, who campaigned around the state for the Democratic candidate.
In a post-election statement Melton said, “Last night, was a long and difficult battle for Indiana Democrats. Although we were not successful in some of our races, we were successful in others. I would like to thank Senator Joe Donnelly for his service to the State of Indiana and to the nation. We appreciate your hard work and leadership.”
Although the GOP will control the U.S. Senate, the Democrats were able to wrest control of the U.S House of Representatives.
Among those rivaling in victory was 1st District U.S. Representative Pete Visclosky who won his 18th term in the House Tuesday night. Visclosky grabbed 68 percent of the vote over Republican challenger Mark Leva, who took 32 percent of the vote.
Though in a celebratory mood Tuesday night, Visclosky talked about the challenge that lay ahead for Democrats in Congress. “What the Democratic party has to do is govern. The first thing we ought to be concerned about is jobs, building infrastructure and putting people to work. The second thing is making the Affordable Care Act a lot better. There are people that are under insured or who don’t have insurance at all, we need to take care of that. We also want a fair tax code for all Americans,” said Visclosky.
Many of the candidates seeking countywide offices were also unopposed, they include Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter, Circuit Court Clerk Lorenzo Arredondo, Auditor John Petalas, Treasurer Peggy Katona and Assessor Jerome Prince.
Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez defeated his opponent Dan Bursa by 53,232 votes. Martinez 107,011, Bursac 53,779.