Kevin Allen – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski told supporters on Tuesday night that “our Republican message just rocked the entire state of Indiana.” Walorski rocked the 2nd Congressional District, too.
The Jimtown Republican convincingly won a third two-year term in north-central Indiana’s congressional seat. According to preliminary results, Walorski garnered 59 percent of the vote in the 10-county district to soundly defeat Democrat Lynn Coleman.
It was Walorski’s second-straight blowout victory in the 2nd District.
Walorski won a majority of votes in nine of the district’s 10 counties on Tuesday. St. Joseph County was the only place where Coleman topped Walorski, and even there he won only 49 percent of the vote.
She also won nine of the district’s 10 counties in 2014, when she beat Democrat Joe Bock with 59 percent of the vote. Bock, like Coleman, managed to win St. Joseph County but with only 49 percent of the vote.
This year, Walorski campaigned by emphasizing her work on basic issues that she said are on the minds of 2nd District residents. Those include national security, caring for veterans, taxes and regulations that frustrate farmers and businesses, and the effects that federal programs have on people in poverty.
“The Republican House had a message of better ways to get things done, a better agenda, a better way to keep our nation safe, a better way to continue to build our economy, a better way to take care of our veterans,” Walorski told her supporters on Tuesday night during a victory party at The Vault in downtown South Bend.
“This is a pivotal time in our country,” she said. “Once again, the American people have elected a strong conservative majority in the House to fight for you.”
Walorski thanked her supporters and the people who worked on her campaign. She said she has been “a happy warrior” during the campaign, thanks to her supporters.
She also expressed optimism about the future.
“Our best days in this district, in this state, in this nation are still before us,” she said.
This year was the first time that Coleman, a former South Bend police officer who served in former Mayor Steve Luecke’s administration, ran for elected office.
He highlighted his 40-year career in public service and said he wanted to bring that servant’s approach to Washington. He also criticized Walorski for not making herself available to the general public, especially her decision not to debate him in public or on television. Walorski agreed to hold one debate on a Wabash radio station whose signal doesn’t reach the 2nd District’s population centers in St. Joseph and Elkhart counties.
Coleman said in a concession speech Tuesday night that he was proud of his campaign.
“Two years ago, no one would have believed we would be standing here tonight in a race for United States Congress. We gave it all and we came up short,” he told supporters at the West Side Democratic & Civic Club in South Bend. “We decided that we were going to give it all we had, and that’s what we did for the last 12 months, every single day. I will tell you that I don’t have anything to hold my head down.”
Walorski’s campaign also was able to outspend Coleman’s during the campaign.
Her campaign spent more than $1.7 million during this election cycle, according to Federal Election Commission records that were updated Oct. 19. Coleman’s campaign had spent about $462,000 as of Oct. 19.
After speaking to the audience at The Vault on Tuesday night, Walorski told reporters that this year’s election results felt significant in American history.
“When America wants to change a nation, and when they want to do something and literally put out Washington, this is what they do,” she said.
“When change happens in America, it never happens from the top down, it happens from the grassroots up,” she added. “We were successful tonight because the grassroots in this district said, ‘This is exactly what we want.'”
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