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United States Senate elections in Indiana, 2012

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2012 U.S. Senate Elections in Indiana

November 6 Election Winner:
Joe Donnelly Democratic Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Richard Lugar Republican Party
Richard Lugar.jpg

Cook Political Report Race Rating
     Tossup (Prior to election)

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2012 U.S. House Elections

Flag of Indiana.png
Voters in Indiana elected one member to the U.S. Senate in the November 6, 2012 elections.

Joe Donnelly (D) won election to the U.S. Senate on November 6, 2012.[1]

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
February 24, 2012
May 8, 2012
November 6, 2012

Primary: Indiana has an open primary system, in which any registered voter can choose which party's primary to vote in, without having to be a member of that party.

Voter registration: Voters had to register to vote in the primary by April 9. For the general election, the voter registration deadline was October 9.[2]

See also: Indiana elections, 2012

Incumbent: The election filled the Class 1 Senate seat, which was held by Richard Lugar (R). First elected in 1976, Lugar ran for re-election in 2012, but lost to Richard Mourdock in the May 8 Republican primary.[3]

An October 2012 article in The Hill predicted both parties had an equal opportunity at holding control of the Senate after the November election. Specifically, three races were named that could cost the GOP control of the chamber -- Indiana, Massachusetts and Nevada.[4]


General election candidates

Democratic Party Joe DonnellyGreen check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Richard Mourdock
Libertarian Party Andy Horning
Independent James Johnson Jr.
Independent Amy Willis

According to the website Daily Kos, this race was one of nine top-ballot 2012 races that contained Libertarian candidates who received more total votes than was the difference between the Democratic winner and the GOP runner-up. In this case, Andy Horning took in over 4,800 more votes than the number that separated Donnelly and Mourdock.[5]

May 8, 2012, primary results

Democratic Party Democratic Primary

Republican Party Republican primary

Libertarian Party Libertarian party

Independent Independent candidates

Election results

U.S. Senate, Indiana General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJoe Donnelly 50% 1,281,181
     Republican Richard Mourdock 44.3% 1,133,621
     Libertarian Andy Horning 5.7% 145,282
     Independent James Johnson, Jr. 0% 15
     Independent Amy Willis 0% 3
Total Votes 2,560,102
Source: Indiana Secretary of State "United States Senate Election Results"
U.S. Senate, Indiana Republican Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngRichard Mourdock 60.5% 400,321
Richard Lugar Incumbent 39.5% 261,285
Total Votes 661,606


According to a Smart Politics review of U.S. Senate election data, incumbent Richard Lugar's loss in the Indiana Republican primary election on May 8th made him "just the second six-term U.S. Senator - and the first Republican - to fail in his renomination bid in the direct election era of the past 100 years."[11]

Mourdock's victory was one of a Tea Party favorite over a long-standing Republican incumbent.[3]

The two candidates were running a close race, despite the fact that Indiana is seen as a Republican-leaning state. After the conservative Mourdock replaced the moderate Lugar as the Republican candidate, democratic candidate Joe Donnelly stood a good chance at wining the seat. Lugar drew support from members of both parties, but Mourdock's tea-party background divides Indiana voters along party lines.[12]

On October 23, 2012, in a debate against opponent Joe Donnelly, Richard Mourdock, asked about his stance on abortion in the case of rape or incest, said "I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And, I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."[13] This remark caused New Hampshire republican senator Kelly Ayotte to withdraw her support of Mourdock and cancel her plans to campaign for him in the final weeks before the election.[14]

Residency challenges

Two Indiana voters filed an appeal March 6, 2012, in Marion County Superior Court asking for review of the denial of their challenges to Richard Lugar’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate by the Indiana Election Commission.[15] The appeal also seeks an injunction to prohibit election officials from printing ballots for the upcoming May 8 primary until the case is resolved. The challengers plan to ask for expedited consideration of their appeal by the courts.[16]

The Election Commission hearing confirmed that Lugar sold his residence in Indiana in 1977 and moved to Virginia.[16] Since then, he has maintained no physical residence in the state of Indiana. The U.S. Constitution requires, in relevant part, that a Senator must be an “inhabitant” of their state.[16]

Lugar's attorneys and the Commission relied heavily on Lugar's stated intent to someday return to Indiana, and letters from the Indiana Attorney General stating that Senator Lugar could continue voting in Indiana without an actual residence in Indiana.[16]

Election law violations

In April 2012, Richard Mourdock's Senate campaign came under scrutiny after allegations that Mourdock's state campaign used funds to aid his federal U.S. Senate campaign, a violation of federal election law.[17] This comes after a legal analysis conducted for the Lugar campaign and a complaint sent to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) by former Rushville, Indiana mayor and former Rush County Republican Chairman John McCane.[17]

The complaint states that Mourdock "accessed voter information through his state committee, transferred the information to his federal committee and then used the information to send mass communications to voters through his federal committee."[17] Mourdock's state campaign accessed the information through the Party's computer database in January 2011, then transferred the information to his federal Senate campaign in February 2011 at time of his candidacy announcement to communicate with mass numbers of voters, and since has continued to use the information.[17]

Federal law specifically prohibits "transfers of funds or assets from a candidate's campaign committee or account for a nonfederal election to his or her principal campaign committee or other authorized committee for a federal election."[17]

Richard Mourdock

Lugar's opponent Richard Mourdock was endorsed by both the Club for Growth on February 14, 2012[18][19] and the National Rifle Association on March 7, 2012.[20] The Family Research Council PAC endorsed Mourdock on January 31, 2012.[21] Indiana's Tea Party has also endorsed Mourdock.[22] Mourdock received an endorsement from the Gun Owners of America Political Victory Fund (dead link).[23] Sarah Palin announced her endorsement of Republican challenger Richard Mourdock over incumbent Senator Richard Lugar on April 27, 2012.[24] On May 2, 2012 Mourdock received endorsements from Michele Bachmann and Grover Norquist, of Americans for Tax Reform.[25]

Richard Lugar

On April 24, 2012, Republican incumbent Richard Lugar received endorsement from Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.[26] On April 29, 2012 Lugar received endorsement from The Indianapolis Star Editorial Board.[27] Lugar has also received endorsements from Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman on April 4, 2012,[28] Indiana Chamber of Commerce,[29] Indiana Manufacturer’s Association,[29] Hamilton County GOP Leaders,[29] Elkhart County Commissioners,[29] National Defense PAC,[29] Dr. Condoleezza Rice,[29] Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour,[30] Former Secretary of State George Schultz,[31] The Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association (IHLA) on April 29, 2012,[32] the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on April 7, 2012,[33] Arizona Senator John McCain[34] and numerous former and current mayors.[35]

On April 27, 2012, a major political supporter of Lugar's campaign announced it would be pulling out support. The PAC American Action Network began by pulling television advertisements, and made the statement that it would let the race "play out."[36] As of March 31, the PAC had spent more than $312,000 on ads backing Lugar.[36]

See also: Super PACs

According to information compiled by Center for Responsive Politics, as of May 7, 2012 super PACs spent approximately $2.5 million in the race between incumbent Richard Lugar and challenger Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock.[37]

According to the Center for Public Integrity Super PACs and other outside groups are on track to spend more on challenger Richard Mourdock in his campaign to unseat Lugar than Mourdock’s own campaign.[38] As of the most recent campaign filings available to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) prior to the primary election on May 8, outside groups supportive of Mourdock have spent "about $3 million, $1 million more than Mourdock’s own campaign."[38]

Cook Political Report

Each month the Cook Political Report releases race ratings for President, U.S. Senate, U.S. House (competitive only) and Governors. There are seven possible designations:[39]

     Solid Democratic
     Likely Democratic
     Lean Democratic


     Lean Republican
     Likely Republican
     Solid Republican

Cook Political Report Race Rating -- Indiana Senate
Month Rating
November 1, 2012[40]     
October 4, 2012[41]     
September 13, 2012[42]     
August 21, 2012[43]     
July 12, 2012[44]     
May 31, 2012[45]     
May 10, 2012[46]     
March 22, 2012[47]     
March 1, 2012[48]     
January 26, 2012[49]     
December 22, 2011[50]     
December 1, 2011[51]     


U.S. Senate in Indiana, General election candidates
Poll Richard Mourdock Joe DonnellyOther candidateUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Rasmussen Reports
July 31-August 1, 2012
Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group
August 9-12, 2012
Rasmussen Reports
October 10-11, 2012
Pharos Research Group
(October 26-28, 2012)
Rasmussen Reports
November 1, 2012
AVERAGES 44% 43.8% 2.2% 8.2% +/-4.1 590.8
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to


Joe Donnelly (2012)[52] Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[53]April 13, 2012$846,956.03$213,630.88$(298,392.74)$861,194.17
Pre-Primary[54]April 26, 2012$861,194.17$25,340.12$(85,434.32)$801,099.97
July Quarterly[55]July 15, 2012$801,099.17$897,449.45$(318,250.82)$1,380,298.60
October Quarterly[56]October 15, 2012$1,380,298.60$155,474.43$(199,636.57)$936,136.46
Running totals

According to a July 9, 2012, Roll Call report, Donnelly raised $900,000 in the second quarter and had $1.3 million dollars cash-on-hand at the end of the cycle.[57] Donnelly's opponent in the general election, Richard Mourdock, reportedly raised $1.6 million dollars in the second quarter and had only $889,000 cash on hand at the end of the cycle.[58]

Donnelly raised over $1.55 million in the third quarter and has $936,000 cash on hand. 77% of donations were under $50 and 89% were under $100.[59]

Richard Mourdock (2012)[60] Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[61]April 19, 2012$362,699.28$879,731.58$(806,426.22)$436,004.64
Pre-Primary[62]April 23, 2012$436,004.64$111,489.17$(292,300.65)$255,193.16
July Quarterly[63]July 15, 2012$255,193.16$1,771,400.41$(1,135,796.69)$890,796.88
Running totals

Mourdock has raised over $3 million in campaign donations during the third quarter according to a campaign aide.[64]


On November 2, 2010, Dan Coats won election to the United States Senate. He defeated Brad Ellsworth (D), Rebecca Sink-Burris (L), Jim Miller (I) and Jack Rooney (I) in the general election.[65]

U.S. Senate, Indiana General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngDan Coats 54.6% 952,116
     Democratic Brad Ellsworth 40% 697,775
     Libertarian Rebecca Sink-Burris 5.4% 94,330
     Independent Jim Miller 0% 161
     Independent Jack Rooney 0% 99
Total Votes 1,744,481


On November 7, 2006, Lugar won re-election to the United States Senate. He defeated Steve Osborn (L), Mark Pool (I) and Jack H. Baldwin (I) in the general election.[66]

U.S. Senate, Indiana General Election, 2006
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngRichard Lugar Incumbent 87.4% 1,171,553
     Libertarian Steve Osborn 12.6% 168,820
     Independent Mark Pool 0% 444
     Independent Jack H. Baldwin 0% 294
Total Votes 1,341,111

See also

External links


  1. Politico, "2012 Election Map, Indiana"
  2. Indiana Elections Division, "2012 Calendar Brochure," accessed July 24, 2012
  3. 3.0 3.1 New York Times Caucus blog, "Indiana’s Lugar Loses Republican Senate Primary," May 8, 2012
  4. The Hill, "Opinion: Republicans facing longer odds in bid to gain Senate control," October 8, 2012
  5. Daily Kos, "Libertarians provided the margin for Democrats and at least nine elections," November 15, 2012
  6. Los Angeles Times, "Democrat Joe Donnelly sets sights on Indiana Senate seat," accessed January 5, 2012
  7. The Hill, "Lugar's Senate race could put Mitch Daniels, Mike Pence in tough spot," accessed January 5, 2012
  8. Huffington Post, "Richard Lugar Opponent Richard Mourdock Slams Indiana Senator As Clueless," accessed January 5, 2012
  9. Libertarian Party of Indiana, "Andy Horning Announces Bid for US Senate in 2012," September 16, 2011
  10. 10.0 10.1 Indiana Election Division, "2012 General Election Candidates," accessed August 15, 2012
  11. University of Minnesota Smart Politics, "Lugar Could Become Just 2nd 6-Term Senator to Lose Renomination Bid in 100 Years" accessed May 7, 2012
  12. New York Times, "As Senate Race in Indiana Tightens, Candidates Seem to Move to Center" accessed October 22, 2012
  13. USA Today, " Mourdock stands by rape comment" accessed October 24, 2012
  14., "Ayotte cancels event with IN's Mourdock" accessed October 24, 2012
  15. WIBC "Lugar Residency Challenge Heads to Court" accessed March 8, 2012
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Election Law Blog, " Appeal Filed in Lugar Residency Case Voters Challenge State Election Commission Ruling in Court" accessed March 8, 2012
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 Richard Lugar for Senate, "Mourdock Likely Violated Federal Election Law:State Treasurer's alleged "pillaging" of Indiana GOP database raises serious legal questions" accessed April 24, 2012
  18. Washington Post, "Sen. Richard Lugar next target of Club for Growth" accessed February 23, 2012
  19. National Review, "It’s Time to Bring Lugar Home" accessed February 23, 2012
  20. The Hill, "National Rifle Association will endorse Lugar challenger Wednesday" accessed March 8, 2012
  21. FRC Action, "FRC Action PAC endorses Richard Mourdock for U.S. Senate" accessed April 27, 2012
  22. USA Today, "A look ahead to the key races in the Midwest in 2012" accessed March 12, 2012
  23. Gun Owners of America Political Victory Fund, "Mourdock" accessed May 1, 2012 (dead link)
  24. Huffington Post, "Sarah Palin Endorses Richard Mourdock In Indiana U.S. Senate Primary" accessed April 27, 2012
  25. CNN Political Ticket, "Bachmann Norquist Endorse Mourdock" accessed May 3, 2012
  26. AbcNews, "Richard Mourdock downplays Mitch Daniels' Lugar endorsement in Indiana Senate race" accessed April 26, 2012
  27. WTHR "Lugar gets Indianapolis State Endorsement for Senate" accessed May 1, 2012
  28. Dick Lugar for Senate, "Skillman Indianas Future Needs Dick Lugar" accessed May 1, 2012 (dead link)
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 29.3 29.4 29.5 Dick Lugar, "Endorsements," accessed May 1, 2012
  30. WISH TV "Haley Barbour Endorses Dick Lugar" accessed May 1, 2012
  31. Dick Lugar for Senate, "George Schultz Endorses Dick Lugar" accessed May 1, 2012 (dead link)
  32. Dick Lugar, "Forest Products Industry to Endorse Lugar on Arbor Day" accessed May 1, 2012 (dead link)
  33. US, "U.S. Chamber Endorses Lugar for Senate" accessed May 1, 2012
  34. CNN Political Ticker, "Bachmann Norquist Endorse Mourdock" accessed May 3, 2012
  35. Dick Lugar, "Indiana Republican Mayors Endorse Lugar" accessed May 1, 2012
  36. 36.0 36.1 IndyStar, "Pro Lugar Special Interest Group Pulling Out of Indiana Race" accessed May 1, 2012
  37. TP Muckraker, "Super PACs Already Spending Big On State Level Races" accessed May 8, 2012
  38. 38.0 38.1 iWatchNews, "Super PACs outspend favorite candidate in Indiana Senate race" accessed May 8, 2012
  39. Cook Political Report, "Our Accuracy," accessed December 12, 2011 (dead link)
  40. Cook Political Report, "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," November 1, 2012
  41. Cook Political Report, "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," October 4, 2012
  42. Cook Political Report, "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," September 13, 2012
  43. Cook Political Report, "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," August 21, 2012
  44. Cook Political Report, "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," July 12, 2012
  45. Cook Political Report, "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," May 31, 2012
  46. Cook Political Report, "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," May 10, 2012
  47. Cook Political Report, "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," March 22, 2012
  48. Cook Political Report, "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," March 1, 2012
  49. Cook Political Report, "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," January 26, 2012
  50. Cook Political Report, "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," December 27, 2011
  51. Cook Political Report, "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," December 1, 2011
  52. FEC Reports, "Joe Donnelly Summary Report" accessed July 11, 2012
  53. FEC Reports, "April Quarterly" accessed July 11, 2012
  54. FEC Reports, "Pre-Primary" accessed July 11, 2012
  55. FEC Reports, "Donnelly July Quarterly" accessed October 22, 2012
  56. FEC Reports, "Donnelly Quarterly Quarterly" accessed October 22, 2012
  57. Roll Call, "Indiana: Richard Mourdock Bests Joe Donnelly in 2nd-Quarter Fundraising" accessed July 11, 2012
  58. Twitter, "Eric Bradner" accessed July 17, 2012
  59. Joe Donnelly's campaign website, "Donnelly Raises over $1.5 Million from Grassroots Supporters,"
  60. FEC Reports, "Richard Mourdock Summary Reports" accessed July 11, 2012
  61. FEC Reports, "April Quarterly" accessed July 11, 2012
  62. FEC Reports, "Mourdock Pre-Primary" accessed July 11, 2012
  63. FEC Reports, "Mourdock July Quarterly" accessed October 22, 2012
  64. Politico, "Richard Mourdock rakes in $3 million in Indiana Senate race," accessed October 10, 2012
  65. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013
  66. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2006"