Political Notebook

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Little glory for Donnelly

In the words of the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield, Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, don't get no respect.

Weeks before he joins the Senate, Donnelly is receiving little credit for beating Republican Richard Mourdock in the Nov. 6 general election.

In a Tuesday email soliciting money to pay unspecified campaign debts, Mourdock's campaign finance director blamed the media for his defeat.

Ashlee Walls wrote that "we found our campaign caught in the liberal media cross hairs. Never has Indiana seen a more obvious example of media bias more interested in defeating conservatives than reporting the news."

She said the campaign "invested heavily in a last minute push to combat the slew of false accusations Democrats and the liberal media churned up to distract voters."

Media coverage in the last weeks of the Mourdock-Donnelly battle was dominated by Mourdock's remark at an Oct. 23 candidates debate that a pregnancy resulting from rape "is something that God intended to happen."

In a piece published this week by Roll Call, Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report, called Donnelly among the four "luckiest" candidates in 2012.

Rothenberg wrote that Donnelly "had little or no chance" of winning the race until state Treasurer Mourdock made his comment about rape. Rothenberg did concede that Donnelly "ran a good race" but said he would not have defeated "any minimally appealing mainstream Republican," including six-term Sen. Richard Lugar, whom Mourdock clobbered in the Republican primary election.

Donnelly seems to be taking it all in stride.

“I’m honored that Hoosier voters put their trust in me," he said Wednesday in a phone interview. “In fact, our polls showed us, even before that debate, ahead in the race."