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Swikar Patel | The Journal Gazette
Indiana GOP U.S. senate nominee Richard E. Mourdock speaks at the 2012 Primary Election Coney Dog Victory Lunch Tuesday at Allen County GOP Headquarters in Fort Wayne.

Mourdock, Donnelly are already battling

FORT WAYNE – Richard Mourdock took a victory lap through Fort Wayne on Wednesday, hardly slowing down before his next race.

The day after he trounced six-term Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., in the Republican primary election, Mourdock began campaigning against his Democratic foe in the November general election.

Mourdock said he had two words for Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd: “Bring it.”

Speaking at the Allen County GOP’s traditional post-election victory lunch, Mourdock chastised Donnelly for supporting President Obama’s economic stimulus plan and the president’s health care law.

Donnelly’s voting record “will time and time again be linked to Barack Obama, and that is not going to win in the state of Indiana,” the second-term state treasurer told 125 people at the local Republican headquarters.

“Mr. Donnelly and Democrats are going to try to say Mourdock is some wild-eyed, far right-wing extremist tea party candidate,” Mourdock said. “It’s already begun. And I’m not surprised by that.”

“We’re going to be reminding them that I have been elected to statewide office twice, and the last time, in 2010, I received more votes that day than any other person on the ballot in the state of Indiana.

“That is not the electoral legacy, if you will, of someone who is on the fringe,” he said.

Donnelly, D-2nd, was unopposed in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. He is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of conservative and moderate Democrats in the House.

In an interview late Tuesday, Donnelly called Lugar “a cornerstone of the Senate, and it’s very different with Richard Mourdock.”

“Only in Washington and Richard Mourdock’s world is more partisanship and division a good thing,” he said.

Donnelly has criticized Mourdock for trying to halt the 2009 sale of bankrupt Chrysler to Italian automaker Fiat.

“That was incredibly irresponsible to do. Sen. Lugar and I fought to save the auto industry,” Donnelly said.

Mourdock attracted 60 percent of the statewide GOP vote to beat Lugar, topping 70 percent in counties in northeast Indiana.

For more on this story, see Thursday’s print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit after 3 a.m. Thursday.