Senate Races to Watch: Indiana and Wisconsin

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The battle for the Senate will come to a close tomorrow, but before it does, The Takeaway is taking a look at two of the closest races in the nation. Indiana, normally a reliably Republican state, churned out an exciting race from the start. The first shake-up occurred when Republican Senator Richard Luger was tossed out of his seat after 35 years by State Treasurer Richard Mourdock. Mourdock is now running against Democratic Representative Joe Donnelly.

In Wisconsin, Democratic representative Tammy Baldwin is going head to head against former Republican Governor Tommy Thompson. Thompson served four terms in the state, but it's still a tossup about whether or not his legacy in Indiana will secure him a seat. 

Breaking down the races are Mary Beth Schneider, political reporter at The Indianapolis Star, and Chuck Quirmbach, reporter for Wisconsin Public Radio.

The Wisconsin senate race comes on the heels of a very dramatic political showdown. "In fact, this Senate race between Thompson and Baldwin had trouble getting a lot of publicity until after June this year, with the recall going on against Wisconsin Governor Walker," Quirmbach says. The race has certainly heated up though, and is now among the most competitive senate races in the country. 

Things are looking close in Indiana as well — though a few recent polls show Donnelly with a comfortable lead. "I've talked to an awful lot of Republicans who are uneasy about voting for Mourdock," Schneider says, citing the controversy around his comments about rape and abortion. 

And the fact that Wisconsin is likely to go red in the presidential race does not indicate that Mourdock will win. "This state is a state of ticket-splitters," Schneider says. "We've had other Democratic governors winning at the same time that you have a big turnout for a Republican presidential candidate."

Neither Schneider nor Quirmbach is prepared to make a confident prediction. Schneider says, "I think there's a good chance that Donnelly wins, but I wouldn't put one single penny on it."