Entries in Indiana (17)


Mourdock Falls Short in Indiana Senate Race

Office of the Treasurer, State of Indiana(NEW YORK) -- The Republican Party push to take control of the Senate is likely sunk now that Tea Party-backed state Treasurer Richard Mourdock has failed in his bid to replace Republican Sen. Richard Lugar.

Conservative Democrat Joe Donnelly, a New York City-born congressman from the state's 2nd district, defeated Mourdock, who made Lugar a lame duck when he ousted him in their GOP primary race earlier this year.

ABC News has called the race for Donnelly, who leads Mourdock by two percentage points, 48-46, with 70 percent of precincts reporting.

The state became a focus for outside groups -- about $8.6 million flowed in from out of the state -- when Mourdock denied the incumbent a seventh term, making the case that Lugar was too moderate.

A close race down the stretch, the decisive moment might have come during an Oct. 23 debate when Mourdock suggested that pregnancies that resulted from rape were part of "God's plan."

He called a news conference the next morning to "clarify" his remarks, but never apologized, instead claiming the media "mistook and twisted" his words. The uproar, he said, was symptomatic of "what's wrong with Washington."

"God creates life, and that was my point," he told reporters. "God does not want rape, and by no means was I suggesting that he does. Rape is a horrible thing, and for anyone to twist my words otherwise is absurd and sick."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Indiana Senate Candidate: 'God Intended' Pregnancies from Rape

Mourdock for Senate(NEW ALBANY, Ind.) -- Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said pregnancies resulting from rape are part of God’s plan, tearfully explaining that he only supports abortions when a mother’s life is in danger.

“I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen,” Mourdock said during Tuesday’s Senate debate, choking up.  Mourdock’s opponent, Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly, opposes abortion except in cases of rape and incest.

After the debate, Mourdock further explained his comment.

“God creates life, and that was my point.  God does not want rape, and by no means was I suggesting that he does.  Rape is a horrible thing, and for anyone to twist my words otherwise is absurd and sick,” he said in a statement.

Democrats wasted no time linking GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to Mourdock.  Earlier this week, Romney personally appeared in a TV ad for the Indiana state treasurer, offering his endorsement.

“Richard Mourdock’s rape comments are outrageous and demeaning to women.  Unfortunately, they’ve become part and parcel of the modern Republican Party’s platform toward women’s health, as Congressional Republicans like Paul Ryan have worked to outlaw all abortions and even narrow the definition of rape,” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.

“As Mourdock’s most prominent booster and the star of Mourdock’s current campaign ads, Mitt Romney should immediately denounce these comments and request that the ad featuring him speaking directly to camera on Mourdock’s behalf be taken off the air,” she added

“Mitt’s man Mourdock apes Akin, reflecting a GOP that is way out of mainstream,” Obama strategist David Axelrod tweeted.

Missouri Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin said during an interview in August that women’s bodies have ways of preventing pregnancy in cases of what he called “legitimate rape.”  Akin apologized for the comment, but refused to leave the race despite pressure from his own party.

Romney’s campaign distanced itself from Mourdock’s comment.

“Gov. Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock’s comments, and they do not reflect his views,” campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Indiana’s Senate Candidates Agree, Mostly: Term Limits for Federal Lawmakers

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- While presidential battleground states are saturated with messages on the economy, taxes and health care, quite a different topic of discussion has garnered surprise consensus in Indiana’s competitive Senate race, on a topic politicians don’t talk about very often once they get to Washington, D.C.

All three of the Hoosier State’s Senate candidates -- Democratic representative Joe Donnelly, Republican state treasurer Richard Mourdock, and Libertarian Andrew Horning -- all voiced support for federal term limits in Tuesday night’s debate.

“I absolutely would, in fact I’ve signed on to that very type of plan,” Mourdock said in response to a question about limiting the terms of U.S. senators and representatives. “I believe in term limits, and I think they’re a good thing. I think they keep turning over ideas. … You know, there is a myth in Washington, and certainly among people who oppose term limits, is that we need all this seniority to have good ideas.”

In the Republican primary, Mourdock unseated incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar, who ties Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch as the longest-serving Republican in the Senate. Mourdock received a donation from a term-limits organization in April.

Horning, the Libertarian candidate, said he had changed his position to agree. “I used to oppose term limits, because it’s more or less a recognition that voters are not doing their job. Isn’t that what you should be doing in the voting booth?” Horning said. “But I have to admit that yes, I’ve come around, and I do think we need to have term limits, and I agree that it should be pretty severe limits, maybe two terms of Senate, couple of terms or maybe three terms in the House.”

Donnelly, the only candidate among the three with experience in Washington, D.C., gave a half-agreement, noting his decision not to run for another term in the House.

“I have served three terms in the House and have said, ‘You know what? I have done work to try to save our auto industry, tried to stand up for our vets, worked for the state of Indiana, and …  if I have the privilege to serve in the Senate, I would think that if I was fortunate enough to win, two terms would be plenty, and then it’s time to come back home to Indiana,” Donnelly said. “So, I think it’s a program that can work, but I think also even more than term limits we put on ourselves, or some legislative term limits, it’s the people who make that decision by going to vote.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Stumps for Tea Party-Backed Senate Candidate Mourdock

Mourdock for Senate(EVANSVILLE, Ind.) -- Mitt Romney leant a hand to a tea party backed Senate candidate, Richard Mourdock, in Indiana Saturday, campaigning with him at a BBQ stop Saturday afternoon to urge voters to elect him this fall.
“We gotta get this guy elected in the U.S. Senate, you know that,” Romney said to applause from patrons seated at tables in Stopte’s BBQ Shack.  “He has proven as the treasurer that he knows how to balance books. He’s also proven as a campaigner that he can take his message to the people of Indiana [and] they’ll support him. This is a man that I want to see in Washington to make sure that we cannot just talk about changing things but actually have the votes to get things changed.  Will you help me elect this guy as the next U.S. Senator?”
At a stop that had the feel of the Republican primary events held in small restaurants across the country earlier this year, Romney, campaigning with Mourdock for the first time, discussed the common vision he shares with the Indiana Republican to cut spending in Washington.
“You can’t keep spending massively more than you take in without putting America in peril.  And so a treasurer knows that, a governor knows that.  It seems that everybody in America knows that in their households, businesses know it, families know it,” Romney said. “There’s only one place in America that doesn’t seem to understand that you can’t keep spending massively more than you take in every year and that’s Washington.  And one reason we’re both going there is to change Washington and to make sure that we finally get ourselves on track to a balanced budget.”
Romney has recently touted his bipartisan work in Massachusetts and said he’s capable of “burying the hatchet” in Washington, but the Tea Party, which backed Mourdock in the senate primary race, often finds itself at odds with both sides of the aisle in Congress.
Mourdock, an Indiana state treasurer, overwhelmingly beat Sen. Richard Lugar, a six term senator, in the Republican primary in May.  Romney stayed out of the primary while other Republican notables, such as Sarah Palin and Rick Santorum, threw their backing behind Mourdock over Lugar.  Mourdock will face Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., in November.
Romney has not campaigned in the battleground state of Indiana as extensively as other swing states this cycle. Barack Obama won Indiana in 2008 by one percent against Sen. John McCain, who Romney campaigned for in Evansville four years ago.
“Four years ago you were here in Evansville, Indiana, and I had that opportunity to introduce him. And understand in 2008 Governor Romney had begun that trail down the presidential primary route and ultimately when the Republicans went a different direction it was Governor Mitt Romney who was one of the very first to step forward to support our party’s nominee, John McCain, and he came to Evansville to fire up the troops to make sure we would not see a Barack Obama presidency,” Mourdock said of Romney.  “He is back and he’s here in part because he is the ultimate team player, and politics is all about being a team. This is not a solo sport. And for that purpose alone, governor, thank you so much for coming here and supporting our candidacy today. But even more importantly, Governor Romney I am absolutely convinced and I know all of you are as well is here to give you a message that he’s been carrying across this great country about what it’s going to take to get this country back on track."
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mourdock Defeats Lugar in GOP Indiana Senate Primary

Mourdock for Senate(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Richard Lugar, the third-longest-serving member of the Senate, went down in a primary defeat Tuesday night to his Tea Party-backed opponent in the Republican primary.

State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, backed by Tea Partiers and conservative campaign groups outside the state, ousted Lugar in Indiana’s GOP primary, according to projections.

Mourdock will face Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly in November.

In Lugar, the Senate would lose one of its few remaining members with a habit of bipartisanship. In Mourdock, Lugar has been unseated by a mild-mannered, twice-elected statewide official who wants to eliminate five federal departments and cut more spending than House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would.

Lugar’s loss made history. Among senators who had served at least six terms, only one had lost in a primary before Lugar: Kenneth McKeller, D-Tenn., who joined the Senate in 1917 and lost to Democratic primary challenger Al Gore, Sr. in 1952. Only 22 senators in history served as long as Lugar has of 1,931 total, according to the Senate historian.

Lugar currently ties Utah’s Orrin Hatch as the Senate’s longest-tenured Republican. Hatch is also facing a conservative primary challenge in 2012.

Mourdock’s win was expected by political operatives in D.C. and Indiana after an expensive campaign in which outside groups flocked to the Hoosier State. A total of 12 groups spent $4.6 million, only one of them based in Indiana. If raw spending had decided the race, Lugar would have won. As of mid-April, Lugar had spent $6.7 million defending himself, to Mourdock’s $2 million. Outside groups spent more heavily in favor of Mourdock.

Mourdock’s win certainly signifies that the Republican Party has continued to grow more conservative. Where Lugar voted with Democrats to advance the DREAM Act and worked with the Obama administration to push the New START arms-reduction treaty through the Senate, Mourdock is as conservative and ideological as they come.

“Let’s do away with the Department of Education, Energy, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development,” Mourdock told ABC News in an April phone interview, and he has also proposed ending the IRS. Mourdock has suggested that Paul Ryan’s budget doesn’t go far enough, and he released his own rough plan last year to shrink spending by $7.6 trillion in 10 years. (Ryan’s would reduce it by $5.5 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.)

Perhaps most significantly, Mourdock outspokenly opposes bipartisan compromise. “Bipartisanship has brought us to the brink of bankruptcy,” he told ABC. “We don’t need bipartisanship, we need application of principle.”

Mourdock’s win might give Democrats a new chance to win Indiana’s Senate seat in November. Donnelly’s campaign says its internal polling has shown him performing far better against Mourdock than against Lugar. Democrats have held back their opposition research on Mourdock in the hopes that he would win. Majority PAC, the Democratic Senate-focused super PAC, spent money to help Mourdock’s primary bid. A GOP strategist acknowleged that, with Mourdock’s win, Republicans would have to keep a closer eye on the race, though, with Indiana solidly red in recent statewide elections, the party should feel good about its chances to keep Lugar’s seat within the GOP ranks.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mourdock on Senate GOP: We’ll Change Leadership

Mourdock for Senate(WASHINGTON) -- If Richard Mourdock wins Indiana’s Senate race, he’ll join a group of conservative senators who have at times clashed with conference leaders.

Asked at a campaign event in April what he’d do if Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to force him in line with a less rigidly conservative agenda, Mourdock recounted a meeting with Sen. Jim DeMint, who became a power center in the Senate after backing 2010′s crop of conservative candidates, and who has been critical of McConnell.

“[DeMint] reached down, he’s a tall guy, and put a hand on either shoulder, and said, ‘Richard, you get me four or five more true conservatives, and we’ve just changed the leadership of the United States Senate,’” Mourdock said, recounting how he asked DeMint if it’s worth replacing one Republican with another.

“He said that doesn’t necessarily mean we even change the people, but you get me four or five more true conservatives, and we’ve just changed the way they’re gonna see things because of our numbers,” Mourdock said.

The following video was forwarded by a Democratic source:

Mourdock is challenging long-tenured Sen. Dick Lugar in a Republican primary Tuesday, and he’s often said he’s more frustrated with Republicans in Washington than with Democrats.

If Mourdock defeats Lugar, and goes onto beat Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly in November, he’ll become the Senate’s latest tea partier, joining Kentucky’s Rand Paul, Utah’s Mike Lee, Florida’s Marco Rubio, Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson, and Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey, all of whom won in 2010 with backing from DeMint and his PAC, the Senate Conservatives Fund.

While neither DeMint, nor anyone else has shown interest in challenging McConnell, there were rumblings of private dissatisfaction over how GOP leaders handled the debt-limit fight last summer, and DeMint criticized McConnell’s strategy publicly. Other sources of tension: when Johnson ran for conference vice-chair, McConnell favored Missouri’s Roy Blunt, the freshman senator and former House GOP whip; and McConnell’s opposition to holding a vote on health-reform repeal.

Mourdock would be yet another ally for DeMint, shifting the Senate further to the right.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Five Takeaways for Tuesday’s Primary Battles

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The GOP may have their presumptive nominee, but Tuesday’s voting contests will still hold important clues to the overall outlook for the GOP -- and in Wisconsin for both parties -- in the months ahead.

Presidential primary contests will take place Tuesday in Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia.  Primaries in North Carolina and West Virginia could indicate Mitt Romney’s support level in a geographic region he has previously failed to carry.

There are also a slew of important races further down the ticket on Tuesday, with Indiana holding a closely watched Senate primary, Wisconsin holding their Democratic primary for their recall election, and North Carolina’s ballot including a same-sex marriage referendum.

Here’s a look at the top five things to watch out for:

1. Indiana Senate

It’s likely that the presidential primary will be the secondary motivation for many Indiana voters on Tuesday.  The primary battle between six-term incumbent Richard Lugar and Indiana state treasurer Richard Mourdock is sure to be a driving force for Hoosier voters.  The latest polling showed Lugar trailing Mourdock by double digits, though Mourdock’s lead decreased slightly when “leaners” -- voters who said they might change their mind before Tuesday -- were factored out.

2. Wisconsin’s Democratic Primary

Wisconsin’s presidential primary may have come and gone, but there’s another race in Wisconsin that’s garnering most of the public’s attention: the recall election of Republican Gov. Scott Walker.  On Tuesday, voters will take to the polls to select the Democratic nominee to face off against Walker in the June 5 recall.   Recent polls showed Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett with a strong lead over former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.  Polls also showed Barrett, who ran against Walker for governor in 2010, in a dead heat with Walker.  Falk trails Walker in the polls.

3. North Carolina’s Same-Sex Marriage Amendment

A proposed constitutional amendment is up for a vote in North Carolina.  The proposed legislation decrees that “marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”  If passed, this amendment -- Amendment One -- would not only outlaw same-sex marriage in the state (same-sex marriage is not currently legal in N.C.), it would ban any other legal union besides marriage for all couples -- gay and straight.  Polling shows the legislation is likely to pass.

4. Romney’s performance in North Carolina, West Virginia

The one region of the country that has alluded Romney during the primary cycle is the South.  The presumptive GOP nominee has claimed victories in the Northeast, the West and the Midwest, but he has yet to claim victory in a southern state besides Virginia, where several of his competitors failed to qualify for the ballot.  With Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum both gone from the race, Romney will carry North Carolina and West Virginia on Tuesday, but the question remains as to how much of the vote he’ll actually receive.

5. Those delegate numbers

Romney has 856 delegates so far, ABC News projects, a little less than 300 shy of the magic 1,144 a candidate needs to officially win the GOP’s nomination.  In Tuesday’s contests, 132 total delegates are at stake, each of which will be doled out proportionally, meaning it is mathematically possible for Romney to fall short of claiming each and every delegate.

Even if Romney does manage to pick up every delegate in Tuesday’s contest, he will still end the night with only 988 delegates.  Depending on Tuesday’s performance -- and his performance in upcoming states like Arkansas, Kentucky and Oregon -- the earliest Romney could hit 1,144 is by the Texas primary, on May 29.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels Criticizes Romney

Tom Williams/Roll Call(INDIANAPOLIS) -- In an interview with the Indianapolis Star, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels offered some pointed advice to Mitt Romney that sounds like an indictment of Romney campaign style. The criticism comes from a Republican who is often mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate. Here’s how Star columnist Matthew Tully summed it up:

“You have to campaign to govern, not just to win,” [Daniels] said. “Spend the precious time and dollars explaining what’s at stake and a constructive program to make life better. And as I say, look at everything through the lens of folks who have yet to achieve.”

After a pause, Daniels added with disappointment: “Romney doesn’t talk that way.”

“You don’t change one thing about the policies you advocate or your principles,” he said, noting instead that candidates should simply make clear how their policies would lift up those who are struggling. For instance, he said, at fundraisers Romney’s message shouldn’t be about how his policies affect the well-heeled people listening in the audience, but rather those who can’t afford a ticket to get in.

“It’s not complicated,” Daniels said. “But for some reason sometimes candidates just miss that.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Senator Lugar Can’t Vote for Himself

Office of Senator Richard Lugar(MARION COUNTY, Ind.) -- Sen. Dick Lugar has been declared ineligible to vote in the Indiana precinct where he once lived.

The election board in Marion County voted 2-1 on Thursday in favor of a complaint brought to the board that argued Lugar and his wife shouldn’t be allowed to vote there because they hadn’t lived at the address listed on their registration since the couple bought a home in Virginia more than 30 years ago.

The Indianapolis Star reports that the lawyer representing the complainant cited a state law that says a person loses his or her residency when the residence is abandoned.

Lugar is a Republican. The board that ruled him ineligible to vote comprises one Republican and two Democrats.

In a statement, Lugar spokesman Andy Fisher said the board “ignored” precedent and that the Lugars have “complied with Indiana law.”

“Hoosiers everywhere have made it clear that they won’t stand for these continued, calculated efforts to unfairly tarnish an Indiana statesman and his family,” Fisher said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rick Santorum Fails to Qualify for Indiana Ballot

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS) -- Rick Santorum did not fulfill the requirements to make the ballot in Indiana, the Indiana Republican Party announced Friday.

The primary is not scheduled until May 8.

Candidates needed 500 verified signatures from each of the nine congressional districts in the state.

The Indiana GOP told ABC News that Santorum fell short in the seventh congressional district, where the state capitol and largest city, Indianapolis, is located.

The state does not allow write-in candidates, but Santorum told reporters Friday in Fulton, Mo., that the campaign is challenging the decision. He blamed falling short of the signature requirement on re-districting and signatures that were disqualified. The former Pennsylvania senator said he’s confident he will end up on the ballot.

“From our perspective -- and they invalidated a whole bunch of signatures -- we’re going to review,” Santorum said. “We’re only 24 short. They invalidated 200 that they said were not good because of ditto marks, things like that. We’re going to go back and look. We have to make up 24 signatures and I think the fundamental issue is you can’t have petitions circulated and have one district be one thing and then half way through have the district change and not count the signatures that were given at the time that they were in fact in that district. So we’ve got some very credible, I’m sure solid, legal challenges, and I have no doubt that we’ll be on the ballot there.”

Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul all made it on to the Indiana ballot.

Santorum has consistently said that he will continue to stay in the race for the long haul and collect delegates up until the convention, but this marks the second state where he won’t be on the ballot and, therefore, not eligible to collect delegates.

He also did not qualify for the ballot in Virginia where there are 49 delegates at stake (only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul qualified). In Indiana there are 46 delegates at stake.

Both Virginia and Indiana are states where delegates are allocated proportionally, as opposed to “winner takes all,” meaning these are states Santorum could ride out of with delegates despite not claiming victory.

Just last month in South Carolina, Santorum told reporters how important it was to get on the ballot in every state, pointing out that despite having a “campaign that was surviving on oxygen through a swizzle stick” they made getting on ballots a priority.

“We actually made the decision in December while we were sitting at two and three percent in the polls, in the national polls, not to put money in Iowa and actually to put money to getting on state ballots -- in December when people were saying you need to get on TV, if you don’t do well in Iowa you aren’t even going to get on these states, and we always believed in that, so I think you have to look at, given the resources we had, it’s amazing the states that we are on,” Santorum said. “And I think it shows a hopefulness and an optimism that our campaign always believed when every reporter was asking us, ‘Why are you in this race?’ We were putting $5- and $10,000, which was a ton of money for us back in December, [into] Oklahoma, Louisiana and places like that, so it’s really paid off for us.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


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