Mourdock stepping down as Indiana treasurer

Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who defeated longtime Sen. Richard Lugar in the 2012 U.S. Senate primary only to lose the general election after a comment about rape, resigned Friday, four months before the end of his term.

Mourdock announced his departure in a news release, saying he wanted to pursue other professional interests, including helping Americans save for college and retirement. His departure was to take effect at the end of the day.

Gov. Mike Pence tapped Daniel Huge, a certified public accountant and chief financial officer of the Indiana Finance Authority, to serve as interim treasurer until he can make a permanent appointment.

In announcing his departure, Mourdock touted his office's performance and pointed to strong investment returns, an increase in enrollment in college savings plans and the creation of new tools to help local governments save money.

But the longtime figure in conservative Republican circles is best known for comments and actions that have made him a lightning rod for criticism in recent years.

Many questioned his decision to spend millions to challenge the Chrysler bankruptcy in 2009. Mourdock defended his action, saying it was necessary to protect Indiana pension funds.

After losing three prior bids for Congress, the Tea Party favorite appeared to be on his way to victory in 2012 after defeating Lugar in the Senate primary. But he self-destructed during a debate in late October when he said that pregnancy resulting from rape was "something God intended."

Mourdock lost the Senate race to Democrat Joe Donnelly.

He also drew fire in June at the state Republican Party's convention when he compared the handling of the national economy to the events leading up to Germany's 1936 elections under the Nazi regime.

Mourdock was first elected treasurer in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010. State law barred him from seeking a third term.

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