2012 saw several Indiana political veterans leave the stage. Term limits forced Mitch Daniels into retirement. The governorship stayed in Republican hands, but barely — Mike Pence‘s win over John Gregg was the narrowest for an Indiana governor in 52 years.
A conservative revolt ended Richard Lugar‘s Senate career after 36 years. State Treasurer Richard Mourdock buried him in a primary landslide. But Mourdock became a national shorthand for Republican dysfunction after suggesting in a debate that pregnancy resulting from rape was “something that God intended to happen.” The backlash helped propel Democrat Joe Donnelly to a six-point victory.
After 30 years in Congress, Dan Burton was facing a second straight competitive primary when he announced his retirement due to family health issues. Successor Susan Brooks joins Jackie Walorski as Indiana‘s first Republican women in Congress in 54 years.
Indiana House Democrats ousted Patrick Bauer as minority leader, then saw Republicans gain nine seats for a walkout-proof majority.
Charlie White’s stormy tenure as secretary of state ended with his conviction for manipulating his voter registration. A month later, the Indiana Supreme Court refused to invalidate White’s original candidacy, clearing the way for Daniels to name Connie Lawson as White‘s successor.