When President Barack Obama won this state two years ago, some began to see cracks in the Republican Party’s stronghold here. It had been 44 years since a Democratic candidate for president won Indiana. And, several Democrats also won election in some normally Republican congressional districts. It gave the Democrats a five to four advantage in the state’s congressional delegation.
Boy, has the tide turn. Republicans took command of the state, wrestling away control from Democrats in national and statewide seats. For starters, the GOP won two of the three congressional seats it was aiming for in southern Indiana.
But incumbent Democratic Congressman Joe Donnelly of South Bend did manage to hold on to his seat in the 2nd Congressional District. So did Democrat Peter Visclosky of Northwest Indiana who represents Indiana’s 1st District. The victory marked Viclosky’s 14th consecutive election to Congress. But this victory is bittersweet. Federal prosecutors are looking into a one-time powerful lobbyist and its ties to congressmen, including Visclosky.
Republican gains give it a six to three lead in the state’s congressional delegation. But that’s not all. Democrats also lost the U.S. Senate seat once held by Evan Bayh to Republican Dan Coats, who returns to the Senate after more than a decade away.
Republicans also regained control of the Indiana Statehouse. The GOP now controls the Indiana Senate, Statehouse and governor’s office.
And even in Lake County, just outside of Chicago, Hank Adams became the first Republican to win a county-wide seat in more than half century. He won the county assessor’s race over Democratic candidate Carol Ann Seaton, who had to battle weeks of bad press in trying to clear up if she actually lived in Lake County. She maintained a driver’s license in Michigan, according to media reports.