INDIANAPOLIS (AP/WLFI) — U.S. Rep. Todd Young kept an Indiana Senate seat in Republican hands by defeating Democrat Evan Bayh, handing the former two-term senator and two-term governor his first election defeat.
Young, a three-term congressman from southeastern Indiana, will succeed retiring Republican Sen. Dan Coats, who won the seat six years ago after Bayh said he decided not to seek re-election because he was tired of Washington partisanship and gridlock.
An onslaught of stories about whether Bayh really lived in Indiana and his extended job search in his final year in office undercut his candidacy.
Young was the heavy favorite to keep the seat in GOP hands in the reliably red state until Bayh’s surprise announcement July 13 he would run. He made the decision following a recruitment push by national Democrats to help in the effort to try to regain control of the Senate.
National groups have poured tens of millions of dollars into the Senate race, one of a half dozen nationally that could determine whether Democrats take over the Senate majority.
Bayh announced he was running two days after former U.S. Rep. Baron Hill withdrew as the Democratic nominee.
Young doesn’t have the name recognition of Bayh, whose father, Birch Bayh, was a senator for 18 years. But Young ran a strong race and was supported by outside groups.
Final results show Young received 52 percent of the vote, Bayh was at 42 percent, and Libertarian Lucy Brenton pulled in 5 percent.