See 2012 Senate Elections - Who's Winning, Who's Losing for an overview of all 33 US Senate races, on a state-by-state basis.
The Incumbent US Senator
Sen. Richard Lugar, a Republican, was first elected to the US Senate in 1976, and is presently serving his sixth consecutive senatorial term. Lugar was mayor of Indianapolis from 1968 to 1976.
Richard Lugar has long been considered a reasonable, moderate Republican, and is widely respected on both sides of the partisan political aisle. When Republicans were the majority party in the Senate, Sen. Lugar served as Chair of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 2003 to 2007, and from 1985 to 1987. Sen. Lugar was also Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee from 1995 to 2001.
Indiana's 2012 US Senate Race
In 2006, Sen. Lugar won reelection with 87% of the vote, because no Democrat bothered to run against Indiana's popular favorite son.
In the May 8, 2012 Republican primary election, however, Sen. Richard Lugar was soundly defeated by Tea Party-backed Republican Richard Mourdock, Indiana State Treasurer.
Lugar's loss shocked the Republican party establishment. Tea Party-affiliated conservatives have expressed great unhappiness with Lugar's bipartisan stances on social issues as abortion, embryonic stem cell research, gun control, and immigration reform, as well as foreign policy stances and nuclear non-proliferation initiatives.
In November, Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly, a three-term House of Representatives member, will oppose Republican nominee Richard Mourdock in November.
Who Will win?
RealClearPolitics.com rates Indiana's 2012 U.S. Senate election as "Likely GOP Seat" largely because of conservative voting trends in Indiana over the last several decades.
However, Indiana has been known to elect moderate Democrats to the U.S. Senate when the alternate choice is an extremist like Republican Mourdock.
Recent Election Results
Indiana's two U.S. senators serving in the 112th Congress (2011 to 2012) are:
- Republican Richard Lugar, serving his sixth term
- Republican Dan Coats has served nearly three nonconsecutive terms. He was in the U.S. Senate from 1989 to 1999. He ran and was reelected in 2010 to his former Senate seat.
Both Governor Mitch Daniels and Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman are Republicans.
In the last four presidential elections, Indiana voted as follows:
- 2008 - 50% for Democrat Obama, 49% for Republican McCain
- 2004 - 60% for Republican Bush, 39% for Democrat Kerry
- 2000 - 57% for Republican Bush, 41% for Democrat Gore
- 1996 - 47% for Republican Dole, 42% for Democrat Clinton, 11% for Other
Unemployment Rate as of June 2011 - Indiana's unemployment rate of 8.4% is below the national average and ranks 24th among all states.
Foreclosure Rates as of June 2011 - Indiana's foreclosure rate of 1 in every 781 homes is just below the national average for states, and ranks 19th among all states.
State Residents Living Below Poverty-Level Income - The Hoosier State's poverty rate of 13.1% ranks 23rd among all states.
Labor Union Membership - Indiana is home to 386,000 workers who are labor union members, representing 13.7% of all workers in the state. Indiana boasts the 14th highest state concentration of labor union members.
Senior Citizen Population - 13% of Indiana residents are 65 years old and over, ranking 33rd among all states.
Women as a Percentage of Indiana's Population - Women comprise 50.8% of all Indiana residents, ranking 24th among all states.
African-American Population - African-Americans comprise 9% of all Indiana residents, ranking 22nd among all states.
Hispanic Population - Only 6% of Indiana residents are of Hispanic heritage, ranking 29th among all states.