FORT WAYNE – Richard Mourdock's run for Congress in 1992 has become fodder in his Senate race 20 years later.
The campaign for Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., on Wednesday accused primary election foe Mourdock of stating positions in 1992 that go against conservative beliefs.
They included Mourdock's support for the Fairness Doctrine, which had required broadcasters to present opposing views on issues; his wish to cut U.S. troop levels overseas; and his proposal for the federal government to pay for a year of college for students who maintained a B average in high school.
"These positions suggest that Richard Mourdock is somewhat of a Johnny Come Lately to the conservative tent," Larry MacIntyre said at an Indianapolis news conference, according to a transcript provided by Lugar's campaign.
MacIntyre was identified as a Lugar campaign volunteer, a retired Army Reserve colonel, a former reporter and editorial writer and a former Indiana University spokesman.
Mourdock campaign spokesman Chris Conner said in an email that Mourdock is now opposed to the Fairness Doctrine, which was revoked in 1987 by the Federal Communications Commission.
Conner said "it would be natural" for Mourdock to have endorsed a drawdown of U.S. troops from abroad in the early 1990s after the Cold War and the first Iraq war ended.
As for expanding federal aid to college students, Conner said that "20 years ago, we weren't facing a national debt of $15 trillion. Given our current economic situation, this is not something Richard is advocating."
Lugar's campaign said the national debt in 1992 was $4 trillion, "and the United States was just emerging from economic recession."
State Treasurer Mourdock is challenging sixth-term incumbent Lugar in the May 8 Republican primary election.
Mourdock, who lives in suburban Evansville, ran for Congress in Indiana's 8th District in 1988, 1990 and 1992, when it was represented by Democrat Frank McCloskey.