Monday, February 21, 2011

Mourdock: I'm Not A Tea Party Candidate

State Treasurer Richard Mourdock tells the Fix's Chris Cillizza on his candidacy to challenge Sen. Richard Lugar in the 2012 Republican primary that he is not a Tea Party candidate, which he says Sen. Lugar will unfairly try to paint him as:

But Mourdock is clear on one thing: he is not running as a tea party candidate. While he welcomes the support of tea party groups and says he expects them to coalesce around his campaign, he recognizes the limitations of being defined as a tea party candidate.

"Mr. Lugar will try to paint me that way, because he's speaking very demeaningly about the tea party right now," Mourdock said. "I think he's doing it that way to set it up and say, 'Mourdock is some wild-eyed extremist.'"
I'm not sure why Lugar bothered meeting with Tea Party folks recently if he thought they were all "wild-eyed extremists." I'm also not sure how that comment will be taken by Tea Party activists who have encouraged Mourdock's candidacy. I guess it's not quite as bad as Chicago Mayoral candidate Gery Chico refusing to accept the endorsement of Chicago's Tea Party. Perhaps his larger point is that he will not allow Lugar to define who he is. Mourdock also says he reached an understanding with State Senator Mike Delph (R-Carmel), who has also been touted as a possible challenger to Lugar, that the two will not split the conservative vote in a primary, paving a path to victory for Lugar, as they did in 2002 when both men sought the party's nomination for Secretary of State, allowing Todd Rokita to skate past them.

But Mourdock said he and Delph have spoken and reached an understanding that they won't split the anti-Lugar vote. After all, it's happened before; when they both ran for secretary of state at the 2002 state party convention, they split the conservative vote and allowed a more moderate candidate -- now-Rep. Todd Rokita -- to win the nomination.

"I said, 'Remember Mike, there were four people running, and we split the vote. We know how this movie ends.' And he agreed," Mourdock said. "I think that will shake out sooner rather than later."
Cillizza says Mourdock will announce his candidacy tomorrow with the support of a majority of the state's 92 Republican county chairpersons and a majority of the state committee members. That latter number is an indication the governor's designated state chairman Eric Holcomb is not acting as an imposing force in preventing members of the state committee from supporting Mourdock over Lugar, for whom Daniels formerly worked and plans to support with his vote. Some earlier reports have suggested Mourdock would announce with the support of at least two-thirds of the county chairs. "I feel bad that he's going to be humiliated by this list," Mourdock told Cillizza.

1 comment:


Mourdock was quite polished today. The Arts Garden was full. Media was everywhere. He had a lot of ground troops helping with bumper stickers, lapel stickers, and even posters.

I took bundles of grass seed to hand out to his supporters to remind them how prolific grass roots support can be.

After the talk I gave Mourdock a little bundle. He told he did that a long time ago in one of his campaigns and appreciated it very much.

I believe him to be genuine. And he can win this.