St. Joseph County Republicans look to pull an upset in U.S. Senate race

NOW: St. Joseph County Republicans look to pull an upset in U.S. Senate race

South Bend, Ind. —what better way to kick off the election excitement than with politics and polish sausage?

Dyngus Day festivities took place all across Michiana and folks celebrating at the St. Joseph County Republican Party say they’re keeping an eye on Indiana’s U.S. Senate race.

Sounds and smells of sausage sizzling kicked off the start of campaign season at St. Joseph County GOP Headquarters.

“Get out and vote, we need your vote,” said Paul Jonas, Republican candidate for St. Joseph County Sheriff.

That plea comes after a decade of declining voter participation in this county during midterm cycles.

Turnout was at just 29 percent in 2014, significantly lower than the 40 percent turnout in 2010 and 45 percent in 2006.

“That’s true in most cases historically that the turnout is lower,” said Lynn Fitzpatrick, St. Joseph County Republican Party Chair.  “However, if they truly do care, then they’ll go out and vote and make their voices heard.”

They’re looking to lift Republican voices locally in the hopes of gaining momentum nationally.

After a few choice words from President Donald Trump in September, incumbent U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly now has a major target on his back.

Although Monday, he said he was not bothered by it.

“They don’t want to know who endorsed who, they want to know what your ideas are to make their lives better and that’s what I’m working on,” said Donnelly.

But still red voters in this county are aiming for a big upset even if they’ve missed the mark the past two U.S. Senate elections.

While Republican Todd Young won the U.S. Senate seat, he lost the race in St. Joe County to democratic candidate Evan Byah by nearly 10,000 votes.

And in 2012, Donnelly beat Republican candidate Richard Murdock by more than 25,000 votes in this county.

“Yes, maybe this is a very blue area, some portions of it, not all of it,” said Fitzpatrick.

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