2016 election characterized by surprises

Over 2.5 million ballots were cast in Indiana this fall. Below is a brief summary of the elections in which Hoosier voters had a say:

Presidential recap

Despite losing the popular vote, businessman Donald Trump won the presidency by exceeding the requisite 270 electoral votes, including Indiana’s 11 votes.

Early projections showed a very clear path for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to come away with a comfortable win, but those projections never anticipated Trump overachieving in the northern rust belt states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The projections also never anticipated Clinton receiving 4 million fewer votes than President Obama did in 2012.

The unforeseen outcome is explained further by exit polling data from the Pew Research Center, which shows that Trump not only gained the support of the majority of white women, but also received a higher a percentage of support from black and Latino voters than Mitt Romney did in 2012.

U.S. Senate recap

Rep. Todd Young defeated former Sen. Evan Bayh in the race to fill the open seat of outgoing Sen. Dan Coats. Bayh began as a 14-20 point favorite after replacing former Rep. Baron Hill on the ballot in July. Young steadily gained in the polls, and ultimately won by 10 points on Election Day. His victory guaranteed that Republicans will have a minimum of 51 seats in the U.S. Senate next year, preserving their majority.

This November was Bayh’s first loss. In five previous statewide races (secretary of state 1986; governor 1988 and 1992; U.S. Senate 1998 and 2004), Bayh had received an average of 58.8 percent of the vote.

Congressional recap

No congressional seats in Indiana changed partisan hands. There are two newcomers, however. Jim Banks will replace outgoing Rep. Marlin Stutzman in Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District. Trey Hollingsworth will replace Senator-elect Todd Young in Indiana’s 9th Congressional District.

Gubernatorial recap

Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb defeated former House Speaker John Gregg in the gubernatorial race. Holcomb’s six point victory defied October polling data showing Gregg leading anywhere from 4-12 points. Suzanne Crouch, Holcomb’s running mate, will vacate her current position as state auditor in January when she is sworn in as lieutenant governor. Holcomb will select a replacement shortly thereafter.

Statewide down-ballot recap

Curtis Hill led all vote-getters statewide with 1,642,555 votes, winning the attorney general’s race over Lorenzo Arredondo. Republicans regained the superintendent of public instruction’s office as Jennifer McCormick upset incumbent Glenda Ritz.

Hoosiers statewide had the opportunity to vote yes or no on a public question regarding whether or not to amend Indiana’s constitution to protect hunting and fishing. The amendment passed overwhelmingly with yes votes carrying over 82 percent. INFB did not have a position on this question.

General Assembly recap

Republicans maintained their supermajorities in the General Assembly, finishing with 41 of 50 senate seats (a net gain of one) and 70 of 100 house seats (a net loss of one).