News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

November 6, 2012

Senate candidates push into final leg of race


Democrat Joe Donnelly and Republican Richard Mourdock are spending the final hours of their fierce race for a U.S. Senate seat touring the state telling voters almost the same thing: Send me to Washington if you want to break the partisan gridlock.

They’re echoing that message with similar words as well: Send the other guy and things will only get worse.

On Monday morning, both candidates kicked off the final leg of the race, meeting with supporters and urging voters to get to the polls today. Each had a party stalwart with them. Mourdock had Republican Sen. Dan Coats at his side, while Donnelly had former Sen. Evan Bayh, the last Democrat to represent Indiana in the Senate.

“I don’t think Hoosiers could have a more clear choice than they have in this race,” Mourdock told reporters at the First Watch Café in Indianapolis, where he greeted breakfast diners before starting a fly-around of the state. “It’s either get away from the politics of (President Barack) Obama that Joe Donnelly has supported, or let’s have some more gridlock.”

Within an hour, just up the road in a Democrat campaign field office in the affluent Indianapolis suburb of Fishers, Donnelly and Bayh were deploying the same kind of language to make the argument for Donnelly.

Describing the partisan-paralyzed Congress as “broken,” Bayh said: “The only way to improve it is to send people who work together.” He added: “If we had more Joe Donnellys in the Senate, it wouldn’t be as broken as it is.”

Another common theme that emerged in their comments was: It’s the other side that’s to blame for making the race the most expensive Senate contest in Indiana history. More than $20 million has been spent so far; nearly half of the money from outside groups has been spent the last three weeks.

Mourdock said he knew the race would be costly when he saw Democrats pouring cash into the race, not long after he toppled six-term U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar in the May primary with strong tea party support.

“I thought all along this was going to be a very close race,” said Mourdock, disputing results of the independent Howey/DePauw Indiana Battleground Poll released Friday that showed Donnelly ahead by more than 10 points. The poll also showed Libertarian Andy Horning had picked up 6 percent of voter support.

Donnelly, meanwhile, referenced reports that showed more than $6 million in outside money has been spent on Mourdock’s behalf since mid-October. (In the same period, about $4.7 million in outside money has come in for Donnelly.)

“A lot of folks came in here trying to buy an Indiana Senate seat,” Donnelly said. “I think the great thing we’ve seen is that the people of Indiana have said: ‘This seat belongs to us.’”

Both Donnelly and Mourdock looked worn out early Monday, but both expressed gratitude for the long hours their campaign volunteers have put in. Both said their campaigns have been energized in recent days.

Fueling that energy in large part was the Howey/DePauw poll that showed Mourdock had apparently lost significant ground with independents and some people in his own party because of a statement he made during an October debate. In responding to a question about abortion, Mourdock said he was “pro-life” without any exceptions, including for rape, because pregnancy resulting from rape is "something God intended.”

Morgan Whitacre, 27, a Democratic field office staff member, said after the Howey poll was released, “we were flooded with volunteers.” Mourdock’s staff said his campaign was bolstered as well by supporters who thought the media had taken Mourdock’s words out of context.

Donnelly said he was pleased with the poll numbers but wary of taking anything for granted. “I always run like I’m 10 points behind and 10 days out,” Donnelly said.

Back at the First Watch Café, where Mourdock had started his Monday, restaurant manager Gary Bates said he was glad he had the opportunity to help out the Mourdock campaign.

But he also voiced an opinion that may cross party lines among voters who’ve witnessed an onslaught of television commercials from both the Donnelly and Mourdock camps. “I’ll be glad,” Bates said, “not to have to watch any of the ads on TV anymore.”

Maureen Hayden is the Indiana Statehouse bureau chief for CNHI, the parent company of the Tribune-Star. She can be reached at


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
Latest News Poll
AP Video
Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Today in History for April 18th
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010