In a laborious and at times heated hearing Friday afternoon, Indiana's Election Commission voted not to uphold combined challenges to Rep. Todd Young's appearing on the GOP Senate primary ballot.
Democrats challenged Young's place on the ballot earlier this month, arguing that he submitted fewer signatures from the 1st District than the requisite 500. The Indiana Election Division found Young's campaign had 501 signatures from the 1st District.
It's no secret that Democrats would prefer to run against Rep. Marlin Stutzman , who's backed by the Club for Growth and is seen as a more conservative than Young, who's consistently raised more money.
Stutzman's campaign quickly pounced on the Democrats' challenge to downplay Young's viability as a general election candidate.
"Either Young is not focused, or he simply fails to connect with voters. Either way Young is not prepared to run a statewide campaign," Stutzman campaign manager Josh Kelley said in a statement on Feb. 10.
The Stutzman campaign followed up with its own challenge, which outgoing Sen. Dan Coats called "unseemly" earlier this week.
Coats, whose former chief of staff dropped out of the race, said Stutzman's behavior was making him re-evaluate his decision to stay neutral in the primary.
The commission is continuing to hear Democratic challenges to Young in its Friday hearing.