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- 05-03-2012, 09:11 AM #1
Richard Mourdock, 2012's Low-Key Tea Partier
Richard Mourdock, 2012's Low-Key Tea Partier
PHOTO: Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock answers a question during a news conference on Thursday, March 22, 2012, in South Bend, Ind.
Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock answers a question during a news conference on Thursday, March 22, 2012, in South Bend, Ind. (James Brosher/South Ben Tribune/AP Photo)
By CHRIS GOOD (@c_good)
May 2, 2012
What do you get when the Tea Party's anger simmers away?
You get Richard Mourdock, the low-key fiscal conservative who's challenging Sen. Richard Lugar, the longest-tenured Republican in the U.S. Senate. The GOP senate primary in Indiana takes place May 8.
"I am a very even-keeled guy," Mourdock told ABC News in an April interview. "Mr. Lugar is trying to paint me as this wild-eyed Tea-Party guy. It's not like I just popped up like a morel mushroom in the spring of agitation."
Indeed he didn't. After a career in business, Mourdock was first elected state treasurer in 2006, debatably a better year for Democrats than 2008. Now, after that spring of agitation, he's been endorsed over Lugar by Sarah Palin, influential conservative blogger Erick Erickson, Congresswoman Michelle Bachman, D.C. conservative groups FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth, the American Conservative Union, the National Rifle Association, Citizens United, Tea Party Express, and Grover Norquist.
Mourdock is running, he says, because a handful of Indiana Republican State Committee members asked him to, a surprise to Mourdock given Lugar's long standing. "People started saying to me, 'It's time,'" Mourdock said. "I heard it many times: He has a Washington view and not a Hoosier view."
Lugar's supporters have sprung to his defense, most notable among them Gov. Mitch Daniels, the American Action Network, a D.C.-based 501(c)4 group founded by former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman and run by GOP fundraising luminary Fred Malek. Two super PACs have formed in 2012, one in D.C. and another in Sacramento, for the purpose of attacking Mourdock. The Young Guns Network, a 501(c)4 group formed by former aides to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, is supporting Lugar with TV ads as part of a campaign on energy and conservation.
As a result, Indiana's Senate primary has become a proxy battle between the GOP's establishment and its Tea-Party wing. Last week, eight outside groups had spent nearly $2.2 million; since then, two more groups have gotten involved, and outside spending totals nearly $4.3 million.
Conservatives see Indiana as the latest battleground in the war over Republican Party identity, a chance to unseat one of the final old-guard senators who upholds such traditions as earmarks and working with Democrats. The race bears the mark of every Tea-Party-vs.-establishment primary in 2010: A conservative candidate arises, is backed by national groups (both the "grassroots" PACs and the TV-ad-funders), and Republicans enter an affair with a candidate deemed ideologically pure--one who may or may not change Washington.
Mourdock's supporters have outspent Lugar's $2.6 million to $1.6 million. As of March 31, Lugar had spent $5.1 million to Mourdock's $1.7 million. With news that Lugar's largest backer, the American Action Network, canceled $200,000 worth of air time, the possibility of Lugar's demise looks even more real.
With Mitt Romney as their presidential standard bearer, and with Sen. Orrin Hatch having learned from the downfall of last year's Tea-Party casualty Bob Bennett in Utah, Mourdock offers Tea Partiers their best chance for a high-profile primary coup in 2012.
One thing is certain: If Lugar loses, Maine's Susan Collins will be the only centrist, bipartisan Republican senator left.
Richard Mourdock, 2012's Low-Key Tea Partier, Challeges Sen. Dick Lugar - ABC NewsThe price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. Plato
- 05-03-2012, 09:14 AM #2
Outside groups spend big in Ind. Senate race
By Maureen Groppe, Gannett Washington Bureau
Updated 15h 28m ago
WASHINGTON – Outside spending in Indiana's Senate race has reached about $4 million, topping all other congressional races in the country.
Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind. and Richard Mourdock, left, participate in a debate on April 11 in Indianapolis.
Nearly 70% has been spent to help state Treasurer Richard Mourdock defeat Sen. Richard Lugar in next Tuesday's GOP primary.
But when the candidates' own spending is included, Lugar's side has doled out about $8 million compared with $4.6 million spent on Mourdock's side, campaign disclosure reports show. And Lugar had $1.4 million in the bank as of April 18 compared with Mourdock's $255,193.
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Still, challengers don't need to match the incumbent in spending, said Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report, which analyzes congressional campaigns. Challengers just need enough money to make their case — and outside groups supplied that in Indiana.
"If Lugar goes down, this is one of those races where you would say all the outside conservative groups, each of them can put a notch on their belt for Lugar," Rothenberg said. "(Outside spending) has been a huge factor. It wouldn't be a competitive primary without it. Conservatives have made this their cause celebre."
Tea Party activists saw Lugar as their best chance to defeat a Senate GOP incumbent and the Club for Growth and the National Rifle Association have spent more against Lugar in this relatively early primary than in any other race so far. On Lugar's side, former aides and center-right Republican groups came to his aide once they saw he was being targeted.
"Of races where you have this kind of a divide in the Republican Party and there's a lot of money on both sides of that equation, that's why you're seeing so much money in this particular race," said Bill Allison, editorial director of the Sunlight Foundation, which tracks outside spending.
The biggest outside spender is the Club for Growth, an anti-tax and pro-free market group that goes after Democrats as well as Republicans they view as not sufficiently conservative. Different arms of the group have reported spending a total of more than $1.7 million to defeat Lugar as of mid-day Wednesday. And that doesn't include two rounds of ads they ran criticizing Lugar for which spending did not have to be disclosed.
"We felt, in this case, that the more Hoosier Republicans heard about Senator Lugar's record of support for bailouts, tax increases, and (President Barack) Obama's judges, the more they would decide it was time for a change," said Club for Growth spokesman Barney Keller
The next largest spenders on Mourdock's side are the National Rifle Association ($421,899) and FreedomWorks for America, a group aligned with the small-government Tea Party movement that expects to spend more than $500,000 on the race.
The $403,715 that FreedomWorks reported spending so far has gone for polling, staff, phone banks, online ads and thousands of yard signs, bumper stickers, palm cards and door hangers.
Mourdock supporters can go to the group's website and download literature to distribute, or participate in the phone banks for Mourdock. In promoting a Saturday rally for Mourdock, FreedomWorks say it wants to "show the naysayers that the Tea Party movement remains powerful."
The biggest spending on Lugar's side was the American Action Network, a self-described "action tank" that advocates for "center-right policies."
The group initially disclosed that it intended to spend $645,153, most of it on anti-Mourdock ads in the Indianapolis TV market in the final weeks before the primary. But American Action Network stopped the ads about two-thirds into the run.
"We've decided that were going to let this race play out," said American Action Network spokesman Dan Conston, who declined to comment further.
The next largest amount reported on Lugar's behalf was $459,608 spent by the Indiana Values SuperPAC, a group created by former Lugar aides. Andy Klingenstein, a private investor who worked for Lugar in the early 1980s, has contributed $25,395 to the PAC. Other large contributors include Richard Freeland, owner of the Pizza Hut franchises in northeast Indiana who gave $20,000 and Mark Dalton, an investor who shares Lugar's alma mater who gave $100,000. Dalton did not respond to requests for comment.
The most recent entrant on Lugar's side is YG Network Inc., a center-right group started by former aides to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.
"We support principled conservatives who believe in getting results," said John Murray, the group's president. "You can be conservative, but you can seek policies and seek to find ways to get things done."
The group has spent $208,628 on mailers supporting Lugar. One says Lugar "has always represented mainstream Indiana values" and points out that Hoosiers do not need to be a registered Republican to vote in the primary.
"The goal is to cast a wide net of people here who we believe support this messaging and the center-right philosophy of principled conservatism that can get results," Murray said.
The group has also sent mailers to help former state House member and GOP state chairman Luke Messer win the crowded GOP primary in the 6th District, which GOP Rep. Mike Pence is giving up to run for governor.
Outside spending in the House races has been relatively small and is focused on the GOP primaries in the heavily- Republican 6th and 5th districts where the winner will be favored in the general election.
Citizens for a Working America PAC, whose only other expenditure this cycle was $455,000 to help GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, has spent $11,166 on mailers for Messer and $30,282 on mailers for former U.S. Attorney Susan Brooks and against former Rep. David McIntosh. McIntosh and Brooks are among the eight Republicans running to succeed retiring Rep. Dan Burton, R-Indianapolis, in the 5th District.
The Campaign for Primary Accountability, a super PAC that opposes incumbents and had planned to help defeat Burton, reported Wednesday spending $64,627 in mailings and Internet ads for McIntosh.
Another GOP candidate in the 5th District, former Marion County Coroner John McGoff, has gotten $75,000 in help through radio ads and mailings paid for by the American Society of Anesthesiologists Political Action Committee.
This close to the primary, outside spending has to be reported within 24 hours, and more reports are likely before Tuesday.
This isn't the first time outside spending has been heavy in Indiana. Outside groups spent more than $3.4 million in two House races in 2010.
Spending is usually heavier in the general election than in the primary. And Indiana's Senate race could attract even more money in the fall, regardless of whether Mourdock or Lugar win the GOP nomination to face Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly.
"If it looks like there's a chance that the Democrats can take the seat, they're going to spend a ton of money. And if it looks like the Republicans might lose the seat, they're going to spend a ton of money," Allison of the Sunlight Foundation said. "There are more groups, and they're spending more than ever."
Outside groups spend big in Ind. Senate raceThe price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. Plato
- 05-03-2012, 10:49 AM #3U.S. Constitution - Article IV, Section 4: GUARANTEES AMERICA FROM INVASION!
- 05-03-2012, 12:11 PM #4
- Join Date
- Apr 2012
Low key tea partyer?? Like slightly pregnant, right? You is or you is'nt! I am anti tea party and not afraid to admit it. I looked over with some care alipac's endorsements, very pro one party, like 100% Republican leadership, aka Reagan, signed the first illegal immigrant amnesty act. My son was killed by an illegal under republican leadership that would not even respond to my plea for border control, aka GHW Bush. I asked another republican to control illegal immigration, received a letter from him extolling the benefits of immigration, aka Geo. Bush. That is three republican administrations that ignored or promoted illegal immigration. A party or myself shall be judged on their action, rather than their intention!!! Lip service shows me nothing, ACTION is how I shall judge, and if these were not party backed leaders they would'nt have got there! Give me and independent person of their word displayed by their action!!
- 05-03-2012, 01:07 PM #5
We are in the mess we are in and it has reached the point that it has because Republicans were fearful of jeopardizing a few votes from Latinos by doing what was right and using their elected offices to enforce immigration laws, punish employers hiring illegal aliens, and physically securing the Mexican border.
Thanks for your comments.
H2U.S. Constitution - Article IV, Section 4: GUARANTEES AMERICA FROM INVASION!