GOP looks for big wins in Indiana, but spoiler lurks

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Republicans working to move Indiana firmly back into the land of red states after its 2008 support of Democrat Barack Obama hope to have plenty to celebrate Tuesday, but a U.S. Senate seat that has been a lock for the GOP for nearly four decades could be the night's spoiler.

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and gubernatorial hopeful Mike Pence are heavily favored to win, and the GOP is looking for more success down the ballot — including a possible supermajority in the Indiana House, which would allow Republicans to conduct business without any Democrats present.

But the hotly contested U.S. Senate race between tea party-backed state Treasurer Richard Mourdock and Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly could provide a stinging upset for the party while granting Democrats a rare foothold in this conservative Midwestern state.

The race, which had been a statistical dead heat, was turned on its heels when Mourdock stated during a televised Oct. 23 debate that "even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen.”

Democrats have pounced on the comments, using them to shore up their arguments that Mourdock is an extremist who will reject bipartisanship, even though Donnelly himself last year backed a measure that would have denied federal abortion funding even in cases of rape and incest.

Mourdock, who has criticized Donnelly for votes on issues ranging from the auto industry bailouts to the federal health care overhaul, has tried to move past the furor over the comments even as Democrats have worked to keep them front and center of the final days of the campaign.

"I'm feeling fantastic. All reports from around the state are very positive as far as voter turnout, Republicans are very excited," Mourdock said Monday while greeting diners at the First Watch Restaurant in Indianapolis.

"We're thrilled at the message of getting this economy turned around and being the 51st vote to repeal Obamacare," he said.

Despite Friday's Howey/DePauw poll that showed him up 11 percentage points, Donnelly took a more cautious approach during an appearance Monday with former U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh and congressional candidate Scott Reske at a Democratic campaign office in Fishers. Another poll by Rasmussen Reports shows Donnelly with a 3-point lead.

Donnelly beamed as Bayh sang his praises, but he demurred when asked how confident he was of victory.

"I run every race like I'm 10 points behind," he said.

The Senate race — which saw more than $25 million spent on ads by outside groups and the campaigns — has largely overshadowed Indiana's other races, which include all nine congressional seats, 25 state Senate seats and all 100 House seats. But that race brought national attention to a state that otherwise might have been overlooked as the presidential campaigns bypassed Indiana in favor of battleground states such as Ohio.

Obama's slim victory over then-contender John McCain in 2008 now appears to have been a fluke more than a sea change. Obama was the first Democrat to win the state since Lyndon Johnson in 1964, but Romney appears poised for a potential double-digit victory.

Indiana Republican Party Chairman Eric Holcomb said Monday he's counting on a good showing Tuesday, but he is still fighting as though Democrats could make gains.

"We want to make sure we don't put the cart in front of the horse," Holcomb said. "I suspect it's going to be a good night for Republicans and a good night for Hoosier taxpayers."

Obama's 2008 state chairman, Kip Tew, blamed the president's performance in Indiana this year on factors ranging from the sluggish economy to Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, who took credit for jobs saved through federal aid.

But Tew said Democrats contributed just as much by running from Obama on the campaign trail, rather than campaigning with him.

"You have to compete for voters' attention, and when there is no competition for voters' attention, they listen to the default answer," he said, noting the willingness of vulnerable Democrats like Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown to campaign with the president.

The lack of national attention has played out in early voting, which was down from 2008. The Indiana secretary of state's office reported that more than 460,000 people had voted across the state as of Friday, with the heaviest turnouts in urban Marion and Lake counties. That compares with about 516,000 who had voted by the Friday before Election Day in 2008.

Many voters rushed to meet the noon deadline for early voting Monday.

At the City-County Building in downtown Indianapolis, voters huddled in the November chill in a line nearly a block long. Many said they believed Obama deserved more time to right the country's economy.

Valerie Cole, a 51-year-old customer service representative, said she voted for Obama in both 2008 and 2012. The first time she voted for Obama it was "a black thing," said Cole, who is African-American, but not this time.

"I didn't expect him to do everything in four years. I knew he couldn't," Cole said. "It took more than four years to mess it up, and it's going to take more than four years to clean it up."

Indianapolis attorney Howard Howe, 61, said he supported Romney because of his concerns about jobs.

"The economy influenced my vote substantially," Howe said. "The private sector is responsible for jobs and it's under attack."


  • Scary
    But you have no problem with Joe Biden being a heartbeat away from the nuclear codes? The man is a kook, repeatedly puts his foot in his mouth and is a total embarrassment.
  • Too Much TEA for Me
    Mourdock must face the women of Indiana. Frankly, I think we will see a huge majority of split ballot voting, thanks to the TEA Party pushing Mourdock over Lugar, and Mourdock placing his foot in his mouth regarding women's rights. Paul Ryan is too extreme for me, and I have voted Republican in every election since 1968. I cannot support Ryan being a heartbeat from the Oval Office. Ryan makes Nixon look like a pushover.
  • I expect a GOP win-hopefully, tho, not scumbag Mourdock.
    It'd be nice to see a Democratic win in every race here. But, Indiana is too conservative and right wing for that. So, I will just say, as long as Mourdock looses-BIG!-I will be OK with the results. We need another Democrat in the Senate, too, so Donnelly is ideal. Added thought-GO OBAMA!

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Good Day I am Mr (Victoria Wright) from United state of America, i stayed in NEW YORK, and i have a broke up business, until i found this company email who help me to gain a loan for business,, and now i want to used this short medium to congratulate the below company for the fast and safe money they loan to me without any form of collateral, i loan 500,000USD from the company to save my business and lots more, i saw their mail on the internet, everyone always give testimony for what they did, so i quickly contacted them and they all did everything for me without stress and my money was sent to my account just 3 days later, i was surprise and i feel so glad, now i have a standard business control agent who help me, now i will advice those who need urgent loan to contact him at the bellow email:zenithfirm12@gmail.com

  2. NOTICE:This is to inform the general public that Vampires are real. My name is James Franklyn.,am an agent of vampire,am here to introduce our new world trend to you,a world of vampire where life get easier,we have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich,you will be assured long life and prosperity,you shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness,stronger and also very fast,you will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk.In case you are wildly oppressed by some unscrupulous persons we can still help you fight them.Your protection is assured immediately you join.Just contact the bellow email if you are interested we are here to attend to you anytime you want us. Contact the bellow email for more details. Email:vampirescreed@hotmail.com Sincerely: James Franklyn.

  3. Bravo! Someone else that is willing to speak the truth! Bravo!_____NBCSN is available in almost 2 MILLION more homes than just a few years ago, but Indycar STILL gets less total viewers than it did just a few years ago when NBC took over Versus. Attendance and ratings cratered with the end of season races (just when the title battle got "interesting" HAH!__________And now...new race in Basilia, where Miles celebrated the "rich history" of Indycar racing there. Rich history? What, 7 events in the 100 years of AOW? Yep, some history. Well, at least its an oval. It's not??? Are you kidding me??? Gosh darn road racin furriners.

  4. PURITY RAY LOAN OFFER........ Have you been denied by your banks,or are you in need of of an urgent loan to pay of your bills we are capable of giving loans @ cheaper rate to interested individuals, student, companies and members of the public in need of finance to settle bills, we do offer considerable loans which you can count on. For more information on our various types of loan,then you will have to contact PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM, to help you achieve your desire LOAN APPLICATION FORM TO BE FILLED BORROWERS INFORMATION * Full name:………………………. * SEX * ……………………………. * Country………………………….. * State:……………………………. * Land:…………………………….. * Occupation:…………………….. * phone number:…………………. * Telephone: ………………………….. * Age:………………………………. * Amount needed as loan:……… * Loan Duration:………………….. * Propose of Loan:……………….. * Annual revenue:………………… * Monthly Income:……………….. * Guarantee:………………………. * Payment: monthly or annually Email.....purityrayloanfirm@gmail.com Thank you and God bless Mr Purity Ray PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM we tend to serve you better

  5. Problem: most of the people responding to this article don't know about this service AT ALL! Why? Lack of awareness. This isn't IndyGo. This is CIRTA: might as well be the mattress company because they are asleep at the wheel - something like 3 directors over the last year? Playing with federal grant money is great! This "region" wants commuter rail service, has spent MILLIONS on Transportation studies yet can't even support a commuter bus line? This is largely for suburban riders to get to downtown - not for "service people to work in our hotels and restaurants" ! Get your head out of your backside!! These are professionals, students etc. that don't want to fight traffic, save some money on parking, gas, stress.... if CIRTA would put their federal money into widely promoting the sevive to Greenwood, Fishers & Carmel instead of finding directors and studies - this would be a successful service. Our family uses(d) it daily for the last several years - but the recent uncertainty & now unreliability due to cuts from Carmel has been a problem. Now, costs us an additional $350/month for gas & parking ( $4200/year) plus vehicle wear, service, environmental impact ... YES - this REGION needs this this type of service in order to keep growing and getting the people it needs to fill skilled positions in downtown Indianapolis. Think outside of your own car !!!