Legislative leaders took a few minutes Thursday to tackle the upcoming election cycle at a preview of the 2012 session.
Senate Democrat Leader Vi Simpson said she believes State Treasurer Richard Mourdock will "unfortunately" turn out to be the GOP U.S. Senate nominee.
But Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said if businessman Bob Thomas gets in the race that means he will dilute Mourdock's support -- giving the nod to U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar.
On the presidential side, Long made clear he has not endorsed Rick Perry and House Democratic Leader Patrick Bauer said he is rooting for Newt Gingrich because "it will be a hoot."
He and Simpson agreed that President Barack Obama will be re-elected regardless.
Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma said he looks forward to a gubernatorial showdown between GOP U.S. Congressman Mike Pence and former Democrat House Speaker John Gregg -- both former law school classmates.
He encouraged some Lincoln-Douglas style debates between the two -- on a bus "and I'll drive it."