Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) on Tuesday defeated Tea Party-backed Senate candidate Richard Mourdock (R), who slipped in the polls after saying that pregnancy from rape is "something God intended to happen."
Mourdock, Indiana's state treasurer, was initially favored to win, and Republicans saw him as one of their best hopes in their bid to retake the Senate. But the race tightened in late October, when he said in a debate with Donnelly that he does not support a woman's right to an abortion in the case of rape.
"I believe that life begins at conception," he said. "The only exception I have to have an abortion is in that case of the life of the mother. I just struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God -- that I think even if life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."
Mitt Romney immediately distanced himself from Mourdock's comments, but he did not withdraw his endorsement or ask for an ad he made for Mourdock to be pulled off the air.
Donnelly, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary, holds slightly less conservative views on abortion than his opponent. He supports legal abortion only in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is in danger. He will replace Republican Sen. Richard Lugar, who lost to Mourdock in the GOP primary after serving six terms in the Senate.