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After the midterm elections, campus reacts to a split Congress



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Students sit and watch the election results Nov. 6 at Collins Living-Learning Center. Republican Mike Braun won the Senate seat against incumbent Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana.  Claire Livingston Buy Photos

After midterm elections results rolled in Tuesday night, students expressed disappointment, optimism, fear and relief.

In Indiana, Republican Mike Braun beat incumbent Democrat Joe Donnelly for U.S. Senate, helping Republicans maintain control of the Senate. Republican Trey Hollingsworth defeated Democrat Liz Watson for the 9th Congressional District by more than 35,000 votes, but Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Voting among young people was significant in this election, with more than 7,700 Monroe County 18-to 24-year-olds voting, Nicole Browne, Monroe County clerk, said in an email. A total of 52,336 registered voters in the county cast ballots, which is about 57 percent.

This was the first time the Indiana Memorial Union was used as a polling station. The IMU had long lines throughout the day and at one point ran out of paper ballots. 

“Given Indiana’s deep red affiliations, I was not surprised by the election results,” Luke Robbins, President of the College Democrats of Indiana, said. “Nationwide, I am still very optimistic though.”

Senior Michael Riddle said he did not share Robbins’ optimism while following the election. He said he was disappointed in Bloomington’s results.

“Especially in Bloomington, everyone kind of expects there to be a big blue wave,” Riddle said. “Yesterday was kind of the opposite of that, I expected a bigger support for Joe Donnelly.”

However, some students gave Braun their support. His win sets up President Trump for reelection in 2020, Matt Bludgen, treasurer of College Republicans at IU, said.

“There was a little bit of fear in Republicans, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected,” Bludgen said. “There was talk of a blue wave that never really came.”

Bludgen said he thought Hollingsworth and Watson both ran good campaigns, but that it was a mistake for Watson to bring Sen. Sanders, I-Vermont to campus because the voters in Indiana don't agree with a lot of his views. 

“I think the end of her campaign came when she campaigned with Bernie Sanders on campus,” Bludgen said. 

Some students were more upset to see how well Braun did at the polls.

“I was disappointed not only that Donnelly lost, but that Mike Braun won,” senior Regine Vincent said. “It made me very anxious, I really don’t like him.”

While some said the candidates running motivated them to vote, others used their vote to make a statement.

“I’m very horrified by Donald Trump so this election was truly a referendum on Trump for me,” Ph.D. candidate and instructor Renata Uzzell said. “I was hoping Democrats could win more Senate seats.”

On campus, some felt the build-up to the election was too stressful and emotional.

“I was really ready for it all to be over,” Uzzell said.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Trey Hollingsworth beat Liz Watson by more than 46,000 votes. That information was from the Associated Press when only 87 percent of precincts were reported. Trey Hollingsworth beat Liz Watson by around 35,163 votes. The IDS regrets this error.

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