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What Alabama's Senate race could mean for Indiana

With a highly contested Senate race coming up in Indiana, a Purdue Political Professor says voters and candidates may want to take note.

Posted: Dec. 13, 2017 4:38 PM
Updated: Dec. 13, 2017 5:10 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — There are lessons to be learned from Tuesday's election in Alabama. With a highly contested Senate race coming up in Indiana, a Purdue Political Professor says voters and candidates may want to take note.

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Doug Jones is Alabama's first Democratic Senator in 25 years. Jones beat out Republican Roy Moore despite Moore's support from the President.

"This is a striking change for Alabama," said Purdue Political professor Jay McCann.

But it's also a change for the entire country and more specifically, Indiana.

"We're going to be facing a very well contested Senate Race," said McCann. 

Republican Congressmen Todd Rokita and Luke Messer are among those battling to go up against Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly in November.

So, what can we learn from the Senate race in Alabama?

"A full embrace of Trump may not be any sort of magic bullet," answered McCann. 

As News 18 has previously reported, Congressman Todd Rokita has modeled his campaign similarly to President Trump's with his "Defeat the Elite" Slogan. McCann said that may serve him well in the primary election it could backfire in a general election. 

"So, this puts a burden on the candidates," said McCann.

We're learning now, integrity is important to voters. That's good news for YWCA Domestic Violence Shelter Director Becky Wellner. Because of sexual assault allegations against Roy Moore, she was worried a win for him would be a step back for victims.

"I think it's exciting because there have been people that have been elected that have had these kinds of allegations that are in office and they remain in office and that's really frustrating," said Wellner. 

Alabama proved you can't just lean on your party to pull you through. Especially in a time where Republicans are changing. McCann said the conflict within the Republican party is starting to look as significant as cross-party conflict.

"Ronald Reagan in the 80s said the 11th Commandment was Republicans should not attack other Republicans. OK, well those days are obviously gone," said McCann. "And Republicans are looking now at least as heterogeneous as the Democrats, historically."

McCann said candidates are likely re-strategizing after the Alabama election and voters might be too.

"Gives them a bit more to think about," said McCann. 

We reached out to Indiana's current two Senators Joe Donnelly and Todd Young to get responses to the Alabama election. 

Senator Joe Donnelly said he believes Doug Jones won because he talked about issues of hope, purpose, dignity and bringing people together, while Roy Moore talked about divisive issues.

Senator Todd Young said the voters have spoken and he looks forward to working with Jones.

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