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Democrat Joe Donnelly Hopes to Forge 'New Middle' in Senate

Incoming U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-In., is hoping to launch a new coalition of moderate lawmakers in the 113th Congress.Donnelly is among a number of new senators sworn-in Thursday, and he steps into the seat previously held by longtime Sen. Dick Lugar.During the 2012 campaign, the former congressman ran as a centrist and on bringing "Hoosier common sense" to an unpopular Congress.Donnelly says he wants to work with lawmakers from both parties to find solutions because of Indiana's history of bipartisan cooperation."We have had just a tradition of being a state where the senators that represent us are not extremists but are ones who are looked to by the entire nation to bring our country together. And I hope to serve in that same role of not worrying about Democrat, not worrying about Republican, but worrying about doing what's right for our country," he says.

The group of senators would include fellow Democrats such as Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, according to Donnelly. Although he indicated Republicans will be approached, Donnelly failed to mention any specific GOP lawmakers that he'd like to see join."I’m not approaching this as a Democrat or as a Republican, but as a Hoosier," says Donnelly. "There’s so much more common sense from back home than there is out in Washington, and I just want to be a reflection of how people think back home."Donnelly was succeeded by Republican Jackie Walorski for Indiana's Second Congressional District seat.