FORT WAYNE – Political analysts are divided on whether tea party losses this week in Wisconsin and Florida will help U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock in Indiana.
Mourdocks profile ballooned when he defeated six-term Sen. Richard Lugar in the May 8 Republican primary election. Since then, Indianas state treasurer has had to share the spotlight – and fundraising sources – with other conservative tea party nominees for the Senate, including Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Mandel of Ohio and Todd Akin of Missouri.
But Tuesday, former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, a Republican establishment favorite, beat three tea party candidates to win the GOP Senate nomination. The same day, Rep. John Mica defeated tea party candidate Rep. Sandy Adams in a primary-election match of GOP incumbents in a new Florida congressional district north of Orlando.
(T)he fewer candidates who need resources, the better for those who do. Mourdock certainly benefits from this, Jennifer Duffy, a senior editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report in Washington, D.C., said Wednesday in an email.
It is worth pointing out that some tea party primary winners like Ted Cruz in Texas wont need help in the general election since it is a formality. Again, this helps someone like Mourdock, she wrote.
Duffy added, Fundamentally, though, any Republican Senate nominee in a competitive race wont lack for financial resources.
Mourdock faces Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, in the Nov. 6 general election. A recent poll by the independent Rasmussen Reports put Mourdock 2 percentage points ahead of Donnelly.
Nathan Gonzales, political editor of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report in Washington, said tea party outcomes in other states would not affect Mourdocks prospects.
Now that Mourdock is the nominee, hell have plenty of support from the Republican establishment to help get him what he needs in the general election, Gonzales said in an email.
The divisions within the Republican Party tend to fade away after a primary as the party focuses on a common enemy for the general election, he said.
Mourdocks campaign announced Wednesday that he; Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd; and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., will have a news conference this afternoon at Greatbatch Medical, 4545 Kroemer Road.
The three will talk about their opposition to the federal health care law in general and its 2.3 percent sales tax on medical devices in particular. Greatbatch Medical makes orthopedic devices and instruments.
Meanwhile, New York real estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump wrote Wednesday on the social media site Twitter: Richard Mourdock--a very good man running for the Senate in Indiana. Hopefully, he will win!
Ben Ray, press secretary for the Indiana Democratic Party, called attention to the tweet and said in a statement: Trump likes telling people theyre fired, and Mourdock tried to tell it to more than 100,000 Hoosiers when he sued to liquidate Chrysler.
The remark is a reference to Trumps signature line on The Apprentice and Mourdocks attempt in 2009 to block the sale of the bankrupt automaker.
The tea party did win one race Tuesday as Ted Yoho defeated 12-term Rep. Cliff Stearns in the Florida GOP primary. And Duffy pointed out that in the Wisconsin Senate primary, three tea party candidates combined to attract 66 percent of the vote, compared with 34 percent for the winning Thompson.