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Indiana House, Senate Remain “Red”

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November 5, 2014 — Indiana’s GOP legislative leaders say the 2014 election is an affirmation of Republican leadership in the Statehouse.  Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith reports on big wins for the GOP.

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TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS – Republicans maintained their supermajorities in both chambers of the Indiana General Assembly on Tuesday, assuring they can continue to their priorities essentially at will.

The results of a few races remained up in the air late Tuesday but President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, predicted the GOP would pick up several seats in the Senate. And the GOP appeared to add at least one seat to its already significant majority in the House as well.

“This now gives us the responsibility to lead,” said Indiana Republican Chairman Tim Berry. “And that’s what we’re going to do over the next two years.”

Returns tallied by the Associated Press showed that Democratic Sen. Richard Young of Milltown had lost his District 47 seat to Republican Erin Houchin.

Republicans also picked up the District 48 seat in Southern Indiana that had been represented for years by Sen. Lindel Hume, a Democrat who is retiring. Republican Mark Messmer won that contest over Democrat Larry Vollmer.

And Republican Jon Ford unseated Democratic Sen. Tim Skinner of Terre Haute in District 38.

Long announced to a cheering crowd at state Republican headquarters that those three seats would soon be back in GOP hands. He said later that two of the wins were part of a larger trend in rural areas of Southern Indiana that once had been largely Democratic but have been moving toward the GOP.

“We took the risk and stuck our necks out,” Long said. “We’ve done the right thing and done right by Indiana. It’s possible the Senate could be 40-10 (in favor of Republicans) by the end of the night tonight.”

Going into the election, Republicans held 37 of the Senate’s 50 seats.

In the House, Republicans held 69 of the 100 seats before the election, which had been the largest majority in modern legislative history. That’s two more than Republicans need to have a quorum in the chamber even if Democrats don’t show up.

On Tuesday night, it appeared Republicans would easily hold onto that supermajority and maybe add one more seat.

Republicans picked up District 45 in Southwestern Indiana when former Rep. Bruce Borders of Jasonville took back the seat he lost two years ago to Democratic Rep. Kreg Battles of Vincennes. They had both been incumbents at the time and forced to face off when new maps put them in the same district. Battles decided to retire this year, leaving the door open for Borders to run again. He defeated Bianca Gambill.

In District 12 in Northwest Indiana, Republican William Fine defeated incumbent Rep. Mara Candelaria-Reardon by just 2 percentage points.

But Democrats did pick up one seat. In District 35, Democrat Melanie Wright unseated incumbent Rep. Jack Lutz with a narrow 51-49 percent victory.

Bosma told the crowd at the Republican headquarters that the GOP victories mean “great representation coming to Hoosiers.” He said it means giving lower-income families the opportunity to send their children to the schools of their choice and “making our public schools well funded.” Democrats had tried to use education issues – including GOP support for vouchers and school funding issues – against Republicans but the issues never gained traction.

Gov. Mike Pence said the GOP majorities are “enormously important” to his agenda and the larger Republican goals for the coming year.

“Indiana has been setting the pace in pro-growth policies and fiscal responsibility and education innovation,” Pence said. “A strong affirmation from the people of Indiana tonight is going to make it possible for us to continue to build on that momentum.”

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