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Mourdock race a magnet for Senate GOP

Mourdock

Indiana is becoming a frequent destination for U.S. Senate Republicans who support the election of Richard Mourdock.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., joined Mourdock in Indianapolis on Monday to talk about health care legislation at an orthopedics hospital.

Other senators who have appeared with Mourdock since his May 8 nomination include Dan Coats of Indiana, Rick Rubio of Florida and John Thune of South Dakota.

Mourdock’s campaign said Monday that Sens. Coats, Rob Portman of Ohio and John Cornyn of Texas plan to gather for Mourdock events Sept. 26 in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis. Cornyn is chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which gave Mourdock’s campaign $43,100 three days after his primary election victory.

“This is one of the most targeted and important races if Republicans are going to win back the majority,” Brose McVey, deputy campaign manager for Mourdock, said in a telephone interview.

State Treasurer Mourdock faces Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, in the Nov. 6 general election. Democrats hold a 53-47 Senate majority with 33 seats up election, and the Hoosier race is among a dozen in which neither party appears to have a clear advantage.

The Indiana seat has belonged to Republicans since Richard Lugar’s election in 1976. Mourdock easily defeated Lugar in the primary.

On Monday, Mourdock outlined ways he would replace the federal health care law if it were repealed.

According to a news release, he favors making all health care expenses fully tax-deductible, allowing health insurers to cross state lines and enacting additional “reforms” for medical malpractice insurance and liability.

Republicans generally propose capping damage awards when talking about changes to medical malpractice laws.

Mourdock did not go into detail.

“What we are embracing is the concept of legal reform, of tort reform” to protect medical providers from “uncontrollable and almost game-stopping risk and financial costs to insure themselves,” McVey said.

Coburn, a physician, said this summer that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – which Donnelly voted for – will “Sovietize the American health care system,” an apparent reference to socialism under the former Soviet Union, according to a story in the Eagle Daily Investor.

He later told media he meant that government bureaucrats will be in charge of medical care.

The Indiana Democratic Party released a statement Monday critical of the visiting senator’s record.

“Coburn, known as ‘Dr. No’ in the Senate, is known for placing holds on critical legislation and appointments, most famously the bill to help cover healthcare costs of 9/11 first responders,” state Democrats said.

Coburn relented in December 2010 when Senate Democrats agreed to reduce a 9/11 survivors compensation fund from $6.2 billion to $4.2 billion.

bfrancisco@jg.net

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