INDIANAPOLIS — Democratic Senate candidate Joe Donnelly nods and nods as a voter heaps praise on outgoing Republican Senator Dick Lugar at a neighborhood picnic. “A fine man,’’ agrees Donnelly, who is not only running to replace him but to continue Lugar’s endangered tradition of aisle-crossing centrism.
After he moves on, the voter, Peggy Hu, says she hasn’t made up her mind about Donnelly, a congressman from Granger, Ind., outside South Bend. But she definitely won’t be voting for his Republican opponent, State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, a tea party favorite whom she hasn’t forgiven for running what she considered an unfair campaign against a man who did a lot for the Chinese community here, and for the state.
Although most national observers like Mourdock’s chances — the Cook Political Report, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball and the Rothenberg Political Report all say the race is leaning Republican — polling showed Mourdock and Donnelly tied at 35 percent in March and 40 percent in May. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has invested in Donnelly. And voters in the state, where my parents will be voting for Mourdock, make me think Donnelly does have a shot, in part because of a series of unusually effective campaign ads that push off Mourdock’s vow not to compromise if elected, or ever drift into bipartisanship.
Continue reading In Indiana Senate race, Democrat Donnelly looks across the aisle