Braun Defeats Donnelly in Indiana Senate Race: NBC News

Republican Mike Braun defeated incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in the U.S. Senate race in Indiana Tuesday night, NBC News projected.

Braun won 54.3 percent of the vote with 62 percent of precincts reporting by 8 p.m.. Donnelly earned 41.6 percent of the vote, while Libertarian Lucy Brenton took home 4.1 percent.

The race was widely seen as one of the most significant in the country, key to Democrats' now-imperiled attempts to take the Senate.

Donnelly was one of 10 Democratic incumbents running for re-election in states President Donald Trump won in 2016.

Trump carried Indiana - redder than many of its Midwestern neighbors - by 19 points, forcing Donnelly to walk a thin line in courting voters on both sides of the aisle.

Perhaps most notably, Donnelly had both expressed support and voted in favor of Trump's proposal to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico - angering some within his own party.

Leading up to Election Day, Cook Political Report labeled the race a "toss up" and polling showed Donnelly locked in a dead heat with Braun, who campaigned nearly entirely as an ally of Trump, noting in particular Donnelly's vote against the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The race drew big names - Trump himself held rallies in Indiana twice in the week before the election, and Vice President Mike Pence, who served as governor of Indiana, stumped for Braun as well.

For his part, Donnelly brought in former President Barack Obama - who won the state in 2008 but lost it in 2012 - to rally voters in Gary on Sunday.

In the end, Donnelly’s tightrope bipartisanship couldn’t deliver him an improbable victory like that of his 2012 win and Indiana further cemented its newly-minted reputation as a solid red state by sending Braun to Washington, D.C.

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