GOP U.S. Sen. Todd Young claims second term victory over Democrat Thomas McDermott

The senior Indiana senator said combatting inflation and cutting spending are his next big priorities

By: - November 8, 2022 9:27 pm

U.S. Sen. Todd Young talks to reporters at a Tuesday night watch party in Indianapolis. (Casey Smith/Indiana Capital Chronicle)

Republican U.S. Sen. Todd Young claimed victory against Democratic challenger Thomas McDermott Tuesday evening, calling it “a great night for the Republican Party.”

The Associated Press called the race for Young at 8:26 p.m. Preliminary and unofficial poll results show the incumbent senator defeating McDermott with 59% of votes, with 29% of precincts reporting.

“We fought hard, we fought hard all the way, because we have never doubted. We have never wavered in our belief that in a free nation, with free people, anything is possible,” Young said minutes after the race was called. He celebrated the victory at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis, along with other members of the Indiana Republican Party. 

“The only way to make America great again is from the ground up,” he continued. “I’m carrying this message to the 92 different counties around Indiana in the coming months and years, but I simply say to them, thank you — thank you for the privilege of representing you.”

Young looks forward to next six years

Young focused much of his campaign on economic issues, pointing to inflation and high gasoline prices which he attributes to President Joe Biden and the Democratic-controlled Congress. 

He also boasted his most recent — and arguably his largest — legislative achievement in the Senate that came earlier this year when President Joe Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act, a $52 billion incentive package to boost domestic semiconductor manufacturing and research in the United States. Young co-sponsored with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York. 

Indiana’s senior U.S. senator was unchallenged in the primary, and he did not get an endorsement from former president Donald Trump. That was after he voted to uphold President Joe Biden’s election win, but later voted to acquit Trump during a Senate impeachment trial.

“I’m gonna work tirelessly over the next six years to ensure that I live up to your high expectations, to ensure that we yield the sort of accomplishments that you deserve — not rhetoric, but results that are worthy of the efforts of each and every person who made this possible,” Young said Tuesday.

The Indiana Senate race comes as Republicans fight to regain control of the 50-50 U.S. Senate.

Young told reporters that his priority in the nation’s capital is to pass a budget and “get spending under control.” 

“We still need to spend money. We need to make important investments in our people and our security and our infrastructure,” he said. “But the American people don’t want us to make silly investments. And so it’s going to require a lot of scrutiny and internal conversation to get that right.”

Young maintained a huge fundraising advantage over McDermott, the mayor of Hammond, in Northwest Indiana.

A heartfelt concession

McDermott made a whole-hearted concession to Young Tuesday about 8:30 p.m., telling a crowd of Democrats to give the Republican a “big round of applause.”

“I want everybody to know I called Sen. Todd Young about five minutes ago, and I wished Todd Young well in the next six years of leading the state of Indiana as U.S. senator,” McDermott said during a Democratic election night watch party being held at Nevermore Union Station in downtown Indianapolis. “And I mean it with all my heart — the better he does, the better our state does. So I want to congratulate Todd Young for beating me tonight.”

Democrat Tom McDermott gives a concession speech Tuesday night to supporters. (Leslie Bonilla Muñiz/Indiana Capital Chronicle)

McDermott thanked a detailed list of family members, staffers, friends and supporters, and he shouted out former U.S. Sen. Joe Donelly, who represents the last time Democrats won a statewide election in 2012.

“I talked to Joe Donnelly before I got started on this track, and Joe Donnelly told me, ‘What’s the worst thing that can happen, mayor? You’re going to meet a lot of great people, and you’re going to see a beautiful state,’” McDermott said. “He was dead right.”

But after stepping off the stage and hugging his way through a small line of well-wishers, an emotional McDermott openly contemplated dropping out of politics.

McDermott previously told the Capital Chronicle he filed to run out of “protest,” saying, “Young doesn’t deserve an easy victory.” Asked if he had regrets after his loss, he nodded a yes, then added, “You’re talking to me right after I lost. So yeah, I regret it. I wasted 14 months of my life.”

“I gave everything I had and it wasn’t really that close,” McDermott said. “So it makes me think that this isn’t my line of work. And so, honestly, I’m probably done in politics.”

McDermott’s senate campaign largely leaned on tensions surrounding hot-button issues, including abortion access. He was quick to remind voters that Republicans were responsible for appointing the U.S. Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade in June, for example. Indiana in August became the first state in the nation to approve abortion-restricting legislation since the high court ruling.

The Democrat was banking on earning enough support from women voters who are “fired up” enough over abortion restrictions and willing to “look for alternatives” by voting for Democrats at the polls.

The other senate candidate, Libertarian James Sceniak, a behavioral therapist, earned roughly 3.5% of the vote, according to preliminary election results. The Northern Indiana native who now resides in Greenwood previously said he sought to represent “disenfranchised voters” and fight against government overreach.

Indiana Capital Chronicle reporter Leslie Bonilla Muñiz contributed to this story.


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Casey Smith
Casey Smith

A lifelong Hoosier, Casey Smith previously reported on the Indiana Legislature for The Associated Press. Internationally, she has reported on water quality across South America. She holds a master’s degree in investigative reporting and narrative science writing from the University of California/Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. She previously earned degrees in journalism, anthropology and Spanish from Ball State University, where she now serves as an instructor of journalism.