IN businessman and self-styled outsider Mike Braun won the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, beating out well-known Republican congressmen, Todd Rokita and Luke Messer, in a costly and vitriolic race.
Braun will face first-term Democratic Sen. "We'll see by November that he's no match for Joe Donnelly's hard work and Hoosier common sense".
Despite the almost constant barrage of attack ads on TV and the candidates' many caustic exchanges at four debates, Braun thanked his Republican rivals and even called them "stand up fellas" in his statement.
A night Republicans feared would end in disaster in at least one state instead produced Senate nominees that party leaders are pleased to run against three vulnerable Democratic senators in November's midterm elections.
"This fall, we're going to send a message to Senator Donnelly and the rest of Washington that politics shouldn't be a career and if we want to change things we need to change the people we send there", Braun explained.
Donnelly, a former House member from Granger, is considered one of the most moderate Democrats in the Senate.
"If we get enough of us there, I think we'll actually start to solve some of these issues that have been vexing politicians", Braun said.
WISH-TV's Megan Sanctorum spent the day with Braun campaign staff and supporters at Moontown Brewing in Whitestown.
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Messer and Rokita both criticized Braun's previous political record, which showed no major donations to Republican political campaigns and a history of voting as a Democrat in local political primaries.
Donnelly, who had raised $9.9 million through mid-April, said he is not concerned about Braun's capacity for self-funding his campaign.
"We are conceding the election", Blankenship said. "(Braun and Republicans) have money coming from every direction, but that wouldn't be anything new".
Braun's victory was an outcome few expected when he launched his campaign in August against the more established political brands of Messer and Rokita.
There was a a lot of excitement at Mike Braun's headquarters in Indianapolis on Tuesday night, as supporters were burning the midnight oil mingling and talking to him after this big win in the primary race.
Braun has campaigned on his business background and has pledged to bring back jobs that have been outsourced overseas.
Also seeking the GOP nomination in Tuesday's primary are Marysville small business owner Melissa Ackison, Cincinnati-area financial management company founder Daniel Kiley and retired public administrator Don Elijah Eckhart from Galloway. He says he hopes Rokita and Messer will rally behind him for what he notes is their common goal of defeating Donnelly. Braun outspent the duo and succeeded in depicting them as "swamp people" and himself as a sort of Hoosier version of President Trump: a "conservative outsider".