INDIANAPOLIS (OfficialWire) — Richard Mourdock became one of the tea party’s biggest winners of the 2012 primary season when he knocked off veteran Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar in a brutal campaign built on his contention that Lugar was too old, too out of touch and too friendly with Democrats — a RINO, Republican in name only.
But the movement’s biggest RINO hunter is now changing his tune as he tries to woo moderate voters in a tight race that stands as a key test of the tea party’s ability to win outside the nation’s most conservative states.
Mourdock is matched in the general election against moderate Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly, who is running even in recent polls despite Indiana’s Republican tilt. Suddenly, gone is the strident rhetoric in which Mourdock proclaimed that bipartisanship meant Democrats coming over to Republicans’ thinking and that winning meant he would “inflict my opinion on someone else.” In its place are support for parts of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, pledges to protect Democratic-championed programs like Social Security and Medicare, and even the once-shunned notion of compromise.
Welcome to “Extreme Makeover: Mourdock Edition.”
Mourdock’s awkward stagger to the center may be a necessary move if the Republicans are to hold a seat that had been a safe bet since Lugar first won it in 1976. The outcome will help determine whether the GOP manages to win control of the Senate, where Democrats now have a narrow four-seat advantage.
Advertising spending from both sides has topped $6 million so far and promises to explode in the final weeks. The candidates and outside groups have already surpassed the $5.6 million spent in Indiana’s 2010 Senate battle.
Read More at officialwire.com. By Tom LoBianco.