Indiana Election 2011 | Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations

Coats Wins GOP Senate Primary, Now Must Win Support Of Opponents

As supporters celebrate Dan Coats’ GOP nomination in last night’s Senate primary race, he now has to win the support of people who voted for his opponents.

While supporters are surely celebrating Dan Coats’ victory winning the Republican nomination in last night’s Senate primary race, it’s clear he now has to win the support of people who voted for his opponents.

With 96 percent of precincts reporting, former Senator Dan Coats, had just 41 percent of the Republican vote. The next two candidates who followed, Marlin Stutzman and John Hostettler had 29 percent and 22 percent of the vote respectively.

Brian Vargus, a political science professor at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis says low majorities in many of the GOP primaries across the state could leave many voters statewide with tough decisions in the November elections.

“There’s a real question of, do those people vote libertarian? Do they stay home? And it has particular implications for the very top of the ticket, the United States Senate.”

Vargus says political observers generally expect victories of more than 50 percent for the top vote getter, as an indication they have solid support from their party.

“Clearly the Republicans have to unify themselves.  Now how deep and how broad that division is, which is a division that many people have talked about for some time, is going to play itself out and we’re going to probably see some of it here first in Indiana.”

GOP primary winners in 7 of Indiana’s 9 congressional districts got less than half of their parties’ vote. Only Jackie Walorski, in district 2 surpassed 50 percent; ending the night with 61 percent of the vote.