FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- It was a crowded field of five candidates seeking the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate seat.
A familiar face to Hoosier voters prevailed.
Former Senator Dan Coats didn't blow away the competition, but he mustered enough support to win the Republican Primary by a comfortable margin.
Returns from across the Hoosier state showed Coats taking just under 40 percent of the vote, about ten points better than the second place finisher, State Senator Marlin Stutzman from Lagrange County, who garnered more than 29 percent.
One-time Congressman John Hostettler from southern Indiana wound up in third, with 22 percent of the vote.
Cameras caught Coats at his voting precinct early Tuesday.
By night's end, enough other Hoosiers voted for him to put him over the top.
At an election night gathering in Indianapolis, Coats and his family walked on to a stage to loud cheers, waving to supporters.
But the mood quickly turned serious, as Coats focused on his November opponent.
He charged that backing for Democrat Congressman Brad Ellsworth would lead to diluted personal liberties and our national security being diminished.
Dan Coats/(R) U.S. Senate Nominee: " We absolutely cannot afford to elect someone to the United States Senate, who will enable this radical move to the left. Folks, anyone who has voted to re-appoint Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, cannot be trusted to protect Indiana's interest."
But Ellsworth promises to be no pushover.Much of retiring Senator Evan Bayh’s more than $12-million war chest could be funneled to Ellsworth, as democrats desperately want to make sure Bayh’s seat doesn’t fall into republican hands in the general election.
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