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Update: 8:48 p.m.
In a huge upset against two well-established names in Indiana Republican politics, wealthy businessman Mike Braun has won Indiana’s high-stakes GOP Senate primary.
Braun - Bid - Millions - Dollars - Money
Braun, who fueled his bid with millions of dollars of his own money, defeated U.S. Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita in what has been called the nation’s nastiest and most expensive U.S. Senate primary.
The Associated Press called the race at 8:48 p.m., with Braun garnering 41 percent of the vote and about 29.5 percent each for Messer and Rokita.
Results - Rebuke - Congressmen - Indicator - Sentiment
The results represent a stunning rebuke of two sitting congressmen and a strong indicator that the anti-establishment sentiment remains strong among Hoosier Republicans who helped catapult Donald Trump into the White House two years ago.
Braun, a former state lawmaker and owner of a national distributor of auto parts, painted himself as an outsider with real world experience who could shake up Washington. He entered the race in August after Messer and Rokita had already spent months attacking each other.
Braun - Sen - Joe - Donnelly - Democrats
Braun will now face off against Sen. Joe Donnelly, who is widely considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the November election. The race will be one of a handful that determine which party controls the Senate next year.
He’ll have little time to relish Tuesday’s victory. Democrats are already planning to attack him with advertisements highlighting his GOP opponents' attacks throughout the primary. But he’ll also get plenty of reinforcements. Trump will visit Elkhart on Thursday to rally Republicans behind Braun and national GOP groups are expected to pummel the state with advertising on Braun’s behalf.
Campaign - Braun - Messer - Rokita - Career
Throughout the campaign, Braun argued that Messer and Rokita were nearly indistinguishable career politicians. In one of the campaign's most memorable advertisements, he carried cardboard cutouts of his opponents around his hometown of Jasper, where voters struggled to tell them apart.
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