Todd Young wins Indiana U.S. Senate seat, defeating Evan Bayh

Published: Nov. 8, 2016 at 6:03 PM EST
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U.S. Rep. Todd Young kept an Indiana Senate seat in Republican hands by defeating Democrat Evan Bayh, handing the former two-term senator and two-term governor his first election defeat.

"I learned in the marines to put people before politics," Young said in his victory speech Tuesday night in Indianapolis. "Tonight you proved the Indiana senate seat belongs to the people of indiana. This is your seat. This is your seat."

Young, a three-term congressman from southeastern Indiana, will succeed retiring Republican Sen. Dan Coats, who won the seat six years ago after Bayh said he decided not to seek re-election because he was tired of Washington partisanship and gridlock.

"This seat belongs to the hard-working Hoosiers whose hearts are broken because they have to tell their children that maybe their lives won't be as good as their own parents' lives," Young said. "This seat belongs to the Hoosiers who are struggling to pay for increased health care premiums. They are furious at their government for leaving them in this situation. This belongs to Indiana families who struggle to find work after Washington bailed out Washington and left taxpayers with nothing but a bill. It belongs to Hoosiers who are moms and dads and wonder about the sort of lives their children are going to have and they worry for their safety and security. More than anything, tonight's victory belongs to every one of us that believes that Indiana and America is bigger and stronger than our problems, those who are optimistic about our country's future."

Young was the heavy favorite to keep the seat in GOP hands in the reliably red state until Bayh announced on July 13 that he would run. He made the decision following a recruitment push by national Democrats to help in the effort to try to regain control of the Senate.

Bayh announced he was running two days after former U.S. Rep. Baron Hill withdrew as the Democratic nominee.

"While we may have our disappointments this evening, which are perfectly understandable, tomorrow will bring a new day and a new dawn, bringing with it the potential for new horizons and opportunity for all of our people," Bayh said in his concession speech. "Let us go forward from this time and this place, determine in the days ahead we enable ourselves and fellow citizens to live out the full meaning of that pledge we learned to recite so many years ago when our lives were young and the potential seemed limitless. That pledge of course concludes by saying, America should always be, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Evan Bayh's father, Birch Bayh, was first elected to the legislature in the 1950s and later served as the state's senator.

Bayh had banked on his political name and millions of dollars in his campaign bank account carrying him to victory.