INDIANAPOLIS — Republicans are sending U.S. Rep. Todd Young to face Democrat and former U.S. Rep. Baron Hill in the race for Indiana’s open senate seat this November.
Young was off to an early lead when the polls closed at 6 p.m. As supporters started to flow into the room for Young’s victory party in downtown Indianapolis, so did the votes. The race was called for a Young victory just after 7 p.m.
“We would win because from the get-go we knew this would be a team effort,” said Young. “Well, we did win today, and it’s because of all of you who worked to advance conservative principles in this primary election.”
Young said his opponent, U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman, earned respect and was a strong opponent. Stutzman called Tuesday a tough night.
“I wanted to come down and say I called Todd Young and wished him the very best,” said Stutzman.
“It wasn’t the turnout we wanted at all,” he said.
When looking at both candidates, the two often have similar positions. Both are anti-abortion. Both criticize President Barack Obama. Both oppose Obamacare. Both have A+ ratings with the National Rifle Association. They even both joined Congress at the same time in 2010. And both claimed to be the true conservative in the race.
But the race became tense from the start. In February, the Stutzman campaign, along with the Indiana Democratic Party, challenged Young’s eligibility to be on the ballot. The state requires 500 signatures from each congressional district for someone to enter the race, but Stutzman and the Democrats argued Young fell short of the number required. A hand count of the paper petitions by TheStatehouseFile.com and several other media organizations found 497 signatures. In the end, the Indiana Elections Commission had a split decision on the discrepancy, which kept Young on the ballot.
Young, however, is ready to move on from the primary. He said he is confident he can unite the Republican Party, and keep the Senate seat, being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, in Republican hands by defeating Hill.
“I know all of you are ready for the fight. And to those Hoosiers who didn’t vote for us today—know that we share the same common sense conservative principles and I will work to earn your trust and support,” said Young.
The race in November will be a rematch. Hill lost his re-election to the U.S. 9th Congressional District to Young in 2010. In a statement, Hill said he’s looking forward to a “vigorous campaign.”
During the election party, Young gave his team Wednesday off and said he will take some time with his wife and kids, but he, too, is preparing for a fight.
“Baron’s record hasn’t changed. My principles haven’t changed,” said Young. “And so I just look forward to the coming months and I expect, you know, as long as we continue to go out there, tell the truth, and run on our record we will win in November.”