(NEW YORK) — The Republican Party push to take control of the Senate is likely sunk now that Tea Party-backed state Treasurer Richard Mourdock has failed in his bid to replace Republican Sen. Richard Lugar.
Conservative Democrat Joe Donnelly, a New York City-born congressman from the state’s 2nd district, defeated Mourdock, who made Lugar a lame duck when he ousted him in their GOP primary race earlier this year.
ABC News has called the race for Donnelly, who leads Mourdock by two percentage points, 48-46, with 70 percent of precincts reporting.
The state became a focus for outside groups — about $8.6 million flowed in from out of the state — when Mourdock denied the incumbent a seventh term, making the case that Lugar was too moderate.
A close race down the stretch, the decisive moment might have come during an Oct. 23 debate when Mourdock suggested that pregnancies that resulted from rape were part of “God’s plan.”
He called a news conference the next morning to “clarify” his remarks, but never apologized, instead claiming the media “mistook and twisted” his words. The uproar, he said, was symptomatic of “what’s wrong with Washington.”
“God creates life, and that was my point,” he told reporters. “God does not want rape, and by no means was I suggesting that he does. Rape is a horrible thing, and for anyone to twist my words otherwise is absurd and sick.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio