Republicans kept their lock on the Indiana Statehouse Tuesday as Secretary of State nominee Diego Morales (above, center) dashed Democratic hopes of a statewide win and GOP supermajorities remained intact in both the state Senate and House.
Republicans also scored statewide wins with U.S. Sen Todd Young winning a second term by easily outpolling Democratic opponent Thomas McDermott and the GOP nominees for state auditor and treasurer winning by wide margins.
“Coast to coast, we know Americans are poised to send a defiant message—stop the reckless spending and start enforcing the law,” Young said as the crowd cheered in front of him.
“This Marine is ready to go back to Washington to fight against the Biden-Harris agenda wherever necessary. But I am also ready to work across party lines to conquer America’s challenges and to defeat our enemies abroad.”
In his concession speech, McDermott reflected on the time he had spent with Hoosiers from across the state.
“I just wished Todd Young well over the next six years. I mean it with all my heart; the better he does the better our state does,” he said.
Morales’ winning margin over Democrat Destiny Wells was not as wide as the other statewide candidates’, but stood at more than 200,000 votes, according to unofficial returns from the office of the Indiana secretary of state.
“The truth always prevails. Let me say that again. The truth always prevails, always.’’ Morales said in declaring a victory that came amid criticism and scrutiny of his past, including allegations of past sexual misconduct which he denies; his early contention that the 2020 presidential election was a “scam;” his troubled employment history in the office of the secretary of state, questions about his military service and more recently, an Indianapolis Star report that in 2018, he might have voted in one county while residing in another, a felony under Indiana election law.
“It won’t take just many of us—it is going to take all of us,” Wells said to Democrats in conceding. “Do not let this moment be lost upon us for the next couple of years. The work starts tomorrow.”
Libertarian Jeff Maurer had hoped to gain primary ballot access for his party by winning 10% of the vote in the Secretary of State race – the litmus test for ballot access under Indiana election law – but fell short by about 4 percentage points..
The best news for Indiana Democrats came from northwestern Indiana’s 1st Congressional District, where first-term Democrat Frank Mrvan defeated Republican Jennifer-Ruth Green. The district had been seen as a possible pickup for Republicans as they sought to strengthen what was shaping up as a narrow majority in the U.S. House.
Mrvan’s victory would keep intact a 7-2 Republican advantage in the state’s congressional delegation.
“Elections don’t happen on social media. Movements are not just created in the city hall. They are created by the people who work, and you all have done the work today. Piece by piece, brick by brick, we have started to rebuild our democracy,” said incumbent Democrat Andre Carson, who easily won an eighth term representing the Indianapolis area in Congress.
In the state legislature, some races remained so close to raise the possibility of recounts, but the Republican supermajorities — 71 of 100 seats in the House and 41 of 50 in the Senate — remained intact, with the GOP adding a 42nd seat in the upper chamber,
In the Indiana House, Democratic Rep. Terri Jo Austin of Anderson, a 10-term ncumbent, was trailing her Republican opponent, Kyle Pierce, by more than 300 votes. Also at risk was two-term incumbent Democrat Rita Fleming of Jeffersonville, running behind Republican Scott Hawkins, though by only 35 votes.
Their losses would be offset by a Democratic pickup in Fort Wayne’s House District 82, which was redrawn in the 2021 redistricting and where Democrat Kyle Miller defeated his Republican opponent. Another Democratic pickup appeared possible in Carmel’s redrawn House District 32, where Victoria Garcia Wilburn led Republican Fred Glynn by more than 200 votes but with more than enough uncounted absentee ballots to erase that lead. Democrats were ahead in early returns from several other suburban districts north of Indianapolis, but their Republican opponents pulled ahead as the vote totals continued to come in.
In the Indiana Senate, Republicans scored a win in Lake County’s District 1, a longtime Democratic stronghold represented until earlier this year by Congressman Mrvan’s father, who retired; Lake County Councilman Dan Dernulc defeated his appointed successor, Democrat Michael Griffin.
In District 31, appointed Republican incumbent Kyle Walker defeated Democrat Jocelyn Vare. The suburban district northeast of Indianapolis had been seen as an opportunity for a Democratic pickup due to the party’s strong showing in recent local races. Democrats did pick up redrawn and relocated — from southern Indiana to central Indianapolis — Senate District 46, won by Democrat Andrea Hunley, but that was offset by a Republican pickup in Muncie-area Senate District 26, won by Republican Scott Alexander. — Includes reporting from Jack Sells, Sydney Byerly, Tabby Fitzgerald, Kyra Howard and Maggie McGuire of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.