The Fix: Indiana

Democratic poll shows Mourdock trailing by seven

Democratic poll shows Mourdock trailing by seven

Democrat Joe Donnelly has opened a seven-point lead on Richard Mourdock in the Indiana Senate race after Mourdocks controversial comments on rape and pregnancy, according to an internal Democratic poll shared with The Fix.

The poll, conducted by Anzalone Liszt Research for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, shows Donnelly at 47 percent and Mourdock at 40 percent. It appears to be the first time Donnelly has polled a lead outside the margin of error.

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What Richard Mourdock can learn from Chick-fil-A

What Richard Mourdock can learn from Chick-fil-A

The old saying goes: There’s no such thing as bad press.

That’s not always the case, of course. And today, Richard Mourdock can probably attest to that fact.

The controversy over Mourdock’s comments about rape and pregnancy has forced politicians of all stripes to pick sides and forced Mourdock to either stand by his comments or back down. He chose to stand by them.

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Richard Mourdock and the damage done

Richard Mourdock and the damage done

Democrats are feverishly trying to turn Richard Mourdock into the next Todd Akin after Mourdock, like Akin, made some controversial comments Tuesday about rape and pregnancy.

At this point, the situation is certainly not helpful for Mourdock and will pretty clearly jeopardize his chance at victory in an already-tight Indiana Senate race. But it’s not yet clear whether it will hurt Mourdock as much as it hurt Akin — or whether the matter will be as big a liability for the national GOP as Akin was.

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Mourdock apologizes for ‘misinterpretation’ of rape comments, Obama campaign pounces

Mourdock apologizes for ‘misinterpretation’ of rape comments, Obama campaign pounces

Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock on Wednesday insisted his comments about rape and pregnancy were being willfully misinterpreted for political gain even as President Obama’s campaign sought to ensnare Mitt Romney in the growing controversy.

VIDEO: Richard Mourdock: ‘I don’t think God wants rape’

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8 Senate candidates whose third quarter reports matter

All eyes in the political world are fixed on tonight’s debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney. But elsewhere, House and Senate candidates are feverishly tallying their fundraising numbers.

The third quarter — the last full quarter before the November election — came to a close at midnight Monday, which means we’ll soon know who raised how much for the stretch run of the 2012 campaign.

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Reports: Daniels to take top job at Purdue

It looks like you can cross Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) off your list of potential vice presidents for Mitt Romney.

Daniels will be tapped by Purdue University as its next president on Thursday, according to multiple local reports. Daniels is reportedly expected to serve out his term, which ends in January 2013, and assume the job then.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels leaves the White House after a meeting of the National Governors Association with President Obama on Feb. 27. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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National Democrats send $250k for Indiana Senate ad

National Democrats send $250k for Indiana Senate ad

The national Democratic Party is dipping its toe into the open Indiana Senate race, sending $250,000 to the state party for an ad on behalf of Rep. Joe Donnelly’s (D-Ind.) campaign.

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Mourdock and Donnelly tied at 40 in Indiana, Democratic poll shows

A new poll conducted for Rep. Joe Donnelly’s (D-Ind.) Senate campaign shows him tied with newly minted GOP nominee Richard Mourdock.

The poll (full questionnaire here), conducted by Democratic pollster Global Strategy Group and obtained by The Fix, showed both Donnelly and Mourdock at 40 percent.

Democrats have insisted since Mourdock’s victory over longtime Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) in the primary last week that they now have a chance to win Indiana, which went for President Obama in 2008 but leans significantly toward Republicans.

The poll suggests they may have a point.

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After ousting Lugar, Club for Growth’s sterling primary record to be tested — big time

The Club for Growth cemented its role as the preeminent third-party group in Republican primaries on Tuesday, guiding Richard Mourdock to a stunning 22-point win over six-term Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.).

By the end of the Indiana campaign, the Club and its affiliated political action committee, Club for Growth Action, dumped nearly $2 million into ads against Lugar, far exceeding investments by groups like the National Rifle Association ($600,000), Citizens United ($96,000) and spending more on ads than both Lugar ($1.6 million) and Mourdock ($700,000).

It’s just more of the same from a group that has successfully picked its battles over the years and toppled a series of more moderate Republican incumbents and establishment candidates, with very few big losses along the way.

But while the win might have been the Club’s biggest upset to date, the real test may lie ahead.

The Club has backed candidates in four Senate primaries in the coming months, and all but one is an underdog. In addition, it appears likely the Club’s hand-picked candidate will finish third in Nebraska next week.

But first, the Club’s record:

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Who is Richard Mourdock?

Eight years ago, Richard Mourdock lost a race for a local county council, finishing in fifth place out of six candidates. It was his fifth loss in the first 16 years of his political career.

On Tuesday, Mourdock defeated six-term Sen. Dick Lugar in a Republican primary.
Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock is greeted by supporter Johanna Fultz as he makes a campaign stop Monday at Immanuel Reformed Presbyterian Church near Battle Ground, Ind. (AP Photo/Journal & Courier, John Terhune)

That striking change of fortune for Mourdock is both evidence of the ideal set of circumstances he found in this year’s race and a testament to a long, tough slog to the top for the Indiana state treasurer and now-GOP Senate nominee.

Make no mistake: Tuesday was all about Dick Lugar . But Mourdock’s profile will matter plenty in November — with Democrats already talking about their increased chances of winning the seat.

So just who is Richard Mourdock?

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Trio of wins inch Romney toward officially securing nomination

Mitt Romney won all three primaries on Tuesday and is closing in on the number of delegates he needs to officially secure the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.

108 delegates were available Tuesday, and Romney is likely to win all 27 up for grabs in Indiana, the vast majority of the 52 available in North Carolina and most or all of the 28 in West Virginia.

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Sen. Richard Lugar loses primary to Richard Mourdock

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) lost his primary on Tuesday, becoming the latest Republican to fall victim to a tea party-fueled opponent.

Results early Tuesday night showed state Treasurer Richard Mourdock leading the six-term senator 61 percent to 39 percent with 40 percent of precincts reporting. The Associated Press has called the race for Mourdock.

Mourdock now becomes the GOP standard-bearer in a state where Republicans have a built-in advantage. But his nomination also opens the door a crack to Rep. Joe Donnelly, a Democrat whose chances improve now that he doesn’t have to face the more moderate longtime incumbent.

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Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia primaries: What to watch for

Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar’s likely demise and the gubernatorial recall primary in Wisconsin aren’t the only two races worth watching tonight. There are also some key House, Senate and governor primaries in Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia.

Two of those states — Indiana and North Carolina — represent relatively rare opportunities for the House Republicans to play some offense this year.

In addition, North Carolina Democrats will pick their gubernatorial nominee in the marquee governor’s race of 2012 (after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s recall election, that is), and West Virginia will hold its governor, Senate and congressional primaries.

There are lots of moving parts; that’s where we come in. Here’s a cheat sheet of what you need to know, state by state and race by race. Impress your friends! Vanquish your enemies!

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Dick Lugar is going to lose. Did he have to?

Indiana Republican Sen. Dick Lugar will almost certainly lose his bid for a seventh term Tuesday at the hands of state Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

On that point, almost everyone in the Republican party agrees. (Polling backs up that idea; a bipartisan survey released late last week showed Mourdock with a 10-point lead on the incumbent.)

There is considerably more disagreement about whether Lugar’s loss was inevitable or whether he could have avoided the fate almost certainly headed his way today. And both arguments have some merit.

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Dick Lugar and the biggest primary upsets in Senate history

If the polls are to be believed, Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar will likely join some very rare company on Tuesday, becoming just the seventh senator in 30 years to lose his party’s nomination for reelection.

And Lugar’s tenure in the Senate — 36 years — would make it one of the more notable upsets in Senate history.

But where would it rank in the list of all-time upsets? Below, we rank the biggest primary upsets of an incumbent senator since 1950, including a potential loss by Lugar.

(Side note: Overall, about three dozen senators who have lost primaries over that span, with the vast majority of them occurring in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.)

Did we miss any? Oversell any? The comments section awaits.

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Mourdock claims lead over Lugar in Indiana poll by Citizens United

Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock has taken a slight lead on Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) in the state’s Republican Senate primary, according to a new poll from a Mourdock-aligned group.

U.S. Senate candidates running in the GOP primary, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.,and Richard Mourdock, left, participate in a debate Wednesday, April 11, 2012, in Indianapolis. (Darron Cummings - AP)

The poll, conducted by GOP pollster Fritz Wenzel for Mourdock-supporting group Citizens United, shows Mourdock at 44 percent and Lugar at 39 percent. The poll has a margin of error of about 4 percent.

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Richard Lugar targeted by new ads from conservative groups

The air wars have officially commenced in the Indiana Senate race, with the National Rifle Association and Club for Growth launching new ads against Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Lugar responding in kind with an ad attacking opponent Richard Mourdock.

A yard signs calling for voters to "retire" Sen. Richard Lugar stands along the road in New Palestine, Ind., Friday, March 30, 2012. Lugar, running for his seventh term in the U.S. Senate, is facing one of his toughest election battles in the Republican primary against state Treasurer Richard Mourdock. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
The tone of the campaign has taken a sharp turn for the negative with just less than one month remaining in the contest.

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Democrats look to stretch the Senate map in Arizona and Indiana

Senate Democrats looking to expand the 2012 Senate playing field have gotten a boost in recent weeks, with Sen. Richard Lugar’s (R-Ind.)
Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Richard Lugar (R-Ind.). (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
problems snowballing and today in Arizona when the primary field cleared for former U.S. surgeon general Richard Carmona.

The Indiana and Arizona races stand out as the two second-tier targets for Democrats this year — after top-targeted seats in Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada — and if they can push them on to the playing field, it will be much harder for Republicans to secure a majority in November’s election.

But just how competitive are those two states?

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Sen. Richard Lugar next target of Club for Growth

Sen. Richard Lugar’s (R-Ind.) path to reelection just got tougher, with the conservative Club for Growth PAC endorsing his primary opponent, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

The Club, which generally endorses against one or two GOP incumbents every election cycle, has made Lugar its first incumbent target of the 2012 election cycle.

The endorsement is a welcome piece of news for Mourdock’s campaign, which has thus far struggled to raise money. The big advantage to having the Club’s backing is its large network of wealthy donors, who have flooded previous endorsees' campaigns with hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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Rep. Dan Burton, Republican from Indiana, to retire

Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.), who has faced a series of primary challenges in recent years, has decided not to seek a 16th term this year.

Burton, who began his congressional career in the 1960s, told members of the Indiana House on Tuesday that he’ll serve out his term but not run again, the Associated Press reported. The 73-year-old didn’t elaborate on his decision during his brief address to lawmakers, but he told reporters beforehand that he was resigning because of family health issues.

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