Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Senate Candidate Mourdock Rallies Supporters Underdog Fighting Hard for Nomination

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Senate Candidate Mourdock Rallies Supporters Underdog Fighting Hard for Nomination

Article excerpt

Convinced he is on the cusp of staging a stunning political upset, U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock rallied supporters Saturday morning at local Republican Party headquarters. Mourdock, a former Vanderburgh County commissioner and now Indiana's state treasurer, is challenging longtime Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., in the May 8 GOP primary election. The increasingly hard fought contest has seen each candidate accuse the other of negative attacks, with Mourdock calling Lugar a "go along to get along Republican" who unnecessarily compromises with liberal Democrats and Lugar accusing Mourdock of conspiring with "out-of-state cronies" to distort his record for personal gain.

On Saturday, Mourdock told several dozen supporters that his coalition of tea party and Republican activists - he claims the support of three-quarters of county GOP chairmen and more than half the state Republican committee - is poised to shock Indiana's political establishment.

The challenger recalled the incredulous response he got last year, when he launched his campaign to deny Lugar renomination.

"People looked at me, 'Oh, well, gee, uh, that's Dick Lugar. I mean, he's Dick Lugar. He's been (in the Senate) for 35 years. That's Dick Lugar. He's an icon of Indiana politics,'" Mourdock said.

"And time to go!" a woman shouted from the crowd to laughter and applause. Mourdock said he was warned he would not be able to raise money for a campaign against the well-connected veteran senator.

"By the end of last year we had raised $1.3 million and I'll tell you, with what's been happening, we are going to meet our target of $2.5 million," he vowed to applause.

Federal Election Commission reports show Mourdock raised $1.29 million and spent $927,669, with $362,699 in cash and $215,350 in debt. Lugar, who was elected to the Senate in 1976, reported raising $3.45 million in the 2011-12 campaign cycle so far and spending $1,8 million with $4 million in cash on hand and no debt.

But the candidates' own campaign cash is only part of the story. Political action committees on both sides are expected to pour combined millions into advertising in the state between now and the May 8 primary. …

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