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 will elect one member to the U.S. Senate in the November 6, 2012 elections.

The signature filing deadline for candidates wishing to run was February 10, 2012. The primary elections will be held on May 8, 2012.

The election will fill the Class 1 Senate seat, which is currently held by Richard Lugar (R). First elected in 1976, Lugar is running for re-election in 2012.


Democratic Party Democratic Primary

Republican Party Republican primary

Libertarian Party Libertarian party

Race background

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. [5] 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.[6]

The Election Commission hearing confirmed that Lugar sold his residence in Indiana in 1977 and moved to Virginia.[6] 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.[6]

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.[6]

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.[7] This comes after a legal analysis conducted for the Lugar campaign and a complaint sent to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) by former Rushville, Indiana mayor and former Rush County Republican Chairman John McCane.[7]

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."[7] 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.[7]

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."[7]


Lugar's opponent Richard Mourdock has been endorsed by both the Club for Growth on February 14, 2012[8][9] and the National Rifle Association on March 7, 2012.[10] The Family Research Council PAC endorsed Mourdock on January 31, 2012.[11] Indiana's Tea Party has also endorsed Mourdock.[12] Mourdock received an endorsement from the Gun Owners of America Political Victory Fund.[13] Sarah Palin announced her endorsement of Republican challenger Richard Mourdock over incumbent Senator Richard Lugar on April 27, 2012..[14] On May 2, 2012 Mourdock received endorsements from Michele Bachmann and Grover Norquist, of Americans for Tax Reform.[15]

On April 24, 2012, Republican incumbent Richard Lugar received endorsement from Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.[16] On April 29, 2012 Lugar received endorsement from The Indianapolis Star Editorial Board.[17] Lugar has also received endorsements from Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman on April 4, 2012,[18] Indiana Chamber of Commerce,[19] Indiana Manufacturer’s Association,[19] Hamilton County GOP Leaders, [19] Elkhart County Commissioners,[19] National Defense PAC,[19] Dr. Condoleezza Rice,[19] Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, [20] Former Secretary of State George Schultz,[21] The Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association (IHLA) on April 29, 2012,[22] the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on April 7, 2012,[23] Arizona Senator John McCain,[24] and numerous former and current mayors.[25]

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."[26] As of March 31, the PAC had spent more than $312,000 on ads backing Lugar.[26]

Race rating

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: [27]

     Solid Democratic
     Likely Democratic
     Lean Democratic


     Lean Republican
     Likely Republican
     Solid Republican

Cook Political Report Race Rating -- Indiana Senate
Month Rating
March 22, 2012[28]     
March 1, 2012[29]     
January 26, 2012[30]     
December 22, 2011[31]     
December 1, 2011[32]     

Election history


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.[33]

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.[34]

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. Los Angeles Times "Democrat Joe Donnelly sets sights on Indiana Senate seat," Accessed January 5, 2012
  2. The Hill "Lugar's Senate race could put Mitch Daniels, Mike Pence in tough spot," Accessed January 5, 2012
  3. Huffington Post "Richard Lugar Opponent Richard Mourdock Slams Indiana Senator As Clueless," Accessed January 5, 2012
  4. Libertarian Party of Indiana "Andy Horning Announces Bid for US Senate in 2012," September 16, 2011
  5. WIBC "Lugar Residency Challenge Heads to Court" Accessed March 8, 2012
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Election Law Blog " Appeal Filed in Lugar Residency Case Voters Challenge State Election Commission Ruling in Court" Accessed March 8, 2012
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 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
  8. Washington Post "Sen. Richard Lugar next target of Club for Growth" Accessed February 23, 2012
  9. National Review "It’s Time to Bring Lugar Home" Accessed February 23, 2012
  10. The Hill "National Rifle Association will endorse Lugar challenger Wednesday" Accessed March 8, 2012
  11. FRC Action "FRC Action PAC endorses Richard Mourdock for U.S. Senate" Accessed April 27, 2012
  12. USA Today "A look ahead to the key races in the Midwest in 2012" Accessed March 12, 2012
  13. Gun Owners of America Political Victory Fund "Mourdock" Accessed May 1, 2012
  14. Huffington Post "Sarah Palin Endorses Richard Mourdock In Indiana U.S. Senate Primary" Accessed April 27, 2012
  15. CNN Political Ticket "Bachmann Norquist Endorse Mourdock" Accessed May 3, 2012
  16. AbcNews "Richard Mourdock downplays Mitch Daniels' Lugar endorsement in Indiana Senate race" Accessed April 26, 2012
  17. WTHR "Lugar gets Indianapolis State Endorsement for Senate" Accessed May 1, 2012
  18. Dick Lugar for Senate "Skillman Indianas Future Needs Dick Lugar" Accessed May 1, 2012
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 Dick Lugar "Endorsements" Accessed May 1, 2012
  20. WISH TV "Haley Barbour Endorses Dick Lugar" Accessed May 1, 2012
  21. Dick Lugar for Senate "George Schultz Endorses Dick Lugar" Accessed May 1, 2012
  22. Dick Lugar "Forest Products Industry to Endorse Lugar on Arbor Day" Accessed May 1, 2012
  23. US Chamber.com "U.S. Chamber Endorses Lugar for Senate" Accessed May 1, 2012
  24. CNN Political Ticker "Bachmann Norquist Endorse Mourdock" Accessed May 3, 2012
  25. Dick Lugar "Indiana Republican Mayors Endorse Lugar" Accessed May 1, 2012
  26. 26.0 26.1 IndyStar "Pro Lugar Special Interest Group Pulling Out of Indiana Race" Accessed May 1, 2012
  27. Cook Political Report "Our Accuracy," Accessed December 12, 2011
  28. Cook Political Report "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," March 22, 2012
  29. Cook Political Report "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," March 1, 2012
  30. Cook Political Report "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," January 26, 2012
  31. Cook Political Report "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," December 27, 2011
  32. Cook Political Report "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," December 1, 2011
  33. U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010"
  34. U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2006"