Young defeats Bayh in Indiana Senate race

Rep. Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungThe scale of the Yemen crisis is unimaginable The Hill's Morning Report — Trump navigates challenges from all sides Tenn. Republicans to go on offense against Dem MORE (R) is the projected winner for the open Indiana Senate race, defeating former Sen. Evan Bayh (D) in a major upset.

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Young was seen as the favorite in the traditionally red state until Bayh made a last-minute decision in mid-July to jump into the race for the seat being vacated by GOP Sen. Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsCNN: Trump intel chief not consulted before decision to revoke Brennan's clearance Study: 3 of every 10 House candidate websites vulnerable to hacks West Virginia set to allow smartphone voting for those serving overseas MORE, upending the battle for the Senate majority. Bayh’s entry gave Young a smaller window to introduce himself to voters statewide.

Bayh entered the scene with a double-digit lead and nearly $10 million in funding that made the Hoosier State look favorable for Democrats. Bayh is also a household name in Indiana politics — the former senator also served as a two-term governor and his father, Birch, was a senator from 1963 to 1981.

But Young’s campaign and critics were quick to undercut Bayh’s formidable name recognition by consistently hammering him over his questionable residency in Indiana and his lobbying ties after leaving the Senate.

Those lines of attack made him susceptible to losing some ground in the polls. Young cut his lead in half in the final weeks, and the last poll conducted by a respected GOP polling firm had Young up by 5 points.

Young was able to overcome a substantial polling gap and was ultimately able to convince voters who were backing GOP presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBrennan fires new shot at Trump: ‘He’s drunk on power’ Trump aides discussed using security clearance revocations to distract from negative stories: report Trump tried to dissuade Melania from 'Be Best' anti-bullying campaign: report MORE not to split their tickets.

The congressman keeps the open seat in Republican hands as the party seeks to preserve its slim majority in the upper chamber.