INDIANAPOLIS — Voters in Indiana voted for an old Capitol Hill hand — Republican Dan Coats — in Tuesday's primaries despite the nation's bottom-barrel support for Congress and fury at the Washington establishment.
In Indiana this fall, Coats — who was recruited by the National Republican Senatorial Committee — will face Democrat Brad Ellsworth, whose nomination is assured. The candidates are seeking the seat held by retiring Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh.
Coats, 66, retired from the Senate in 1998, has worked as a lobbyist and was U.S. ambassador to Germany under President George W. Bush. He overcame spirited challenges from four, including state Sen. Marlin Stutzman, a tea party favorite who was endorsed by South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, and former Rep. John Hostettler, who had the support of one-time presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas.
Democrats quickly piled on, calling Coats a "deeply flawed candidate" and casting him as a Washington insider beholden to special interests.
Surrounded by reporters, Coats said he hoped he had convinced voters in this campaign that he’s the right pick despite any initial skepticism.
“I hope I have. I’ve traveled the state, been in front of an awful lot of Hoosiers. We’ve done debates and debates and debates, over and over and over,” he said. “People have had a very good look at the candidates and today it’s up to Hoosier voters to decide who they want to represent them.”
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