- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Republican Mike Braun on Tuesday ousted Sen. Joe Donnelly, chalking up a big win for President Trump and putting a major dent in Democrats’ long-shot hopes of flipping the U.S. Senate.

Networks declared Mr. Braun the winner almost three hours after polls closed, handing the GOP its first flipped seat in the U.S. Senate.

“We’ve got two years to show that as conservatives we can make things work,” Mr. Braun said at his Election Night party. “We need to get our president re-elected, and what we are going to do is we are going to get more people from the real world that have had to do things, that can fix things in a dysfunctional system.”

“You are going to find that other people across this country are going to stick their neck out and take a risk and try to fix things in Washington, so the system works for everyone that is my goal,” he said.

With 67 percent of the precincts reporting, Mr. Braun held a 55 to 40 percent lead over Mr. Donnelly.

The race in Indiana was one of the most watched and most expensive races in the country and tested the political pull of Mr. Trump, who campaigned with Mr. Braun on the eve of the election, in a state that he easily carried two years ago.

Mr. Braun, the head of an auto parts distribution company, cast himself as the outsider in the race, and slammed Mr. Donnelly as a career politician and a strict partisan, highlighting his vote against Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court and support for Obamacare.

Mr. Donnelly had a massive target on his back since he pulled off a shocking upset to win his seat in 2012. It got bigger after Mr. Trump carried the state by 19 points over Hillary Clinton.

The race was considered a “toss-up” — leading outside groups to funnel more than $68 million into the contest, with a good chunk of the money getting funneled into attack ads, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Both of the candidates raised over $16 million for the election cycle, and together spent nearly $30 million on the general election. Mr. Braun spent nearly a combined $8 million of his own money between the primary and general election races.

Mr. Braun served in the Indiana House from 2014 to 2017 and survived a nasty primary fight in which Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita criticized him for voting for tax increases in the state legislature.

The Senate race also featured libertarian Lucy Brenton.

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