09 May, 2011

Joe Donnelly Wants Lugar’s Seat

Robert Costa at The Corner noted this weekend:

Rep. Joe Donnelly [(D-IN-02)], a South Bend Democrat, will run for U.S. Senate:

Following redistricting, Donnelly’s South Bend district stands to be become more Republican — a factor that was a notable part of his decision-making process as he considered his political future. What’s more, Republican Jackie Walorski, who Donnelly narrowly defeated in 2010, will once again run for the 2nd District seat in 2012.

As I noted in my comment there, this is good news for both Jackie Walorski and Richard Mourdock.

Jackie narrowly lost to Donnelly in 2010, and has already announced she’s running again. I think she was likely to win, regardless, as she made a few mistakes during the campaign season, and redistricting makes the district a bit more solidly red.

But it also helps Richard Mourdock, who is hoping to win the Republican primary against sitting Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN). Mourdock is running as a Tea Party candidate, and considerably to the right of Lugar who has drifted farther and farther to the left over time. Obviously, Indiana Democrats are hoping Mourdock wins (they didn’t even field a candidate against Lugar in 2006). But Donnelly is a weak candidate. Walorski should have beaten him and I really don’t think Mourdock will have any trouble. In fact, I think Mourdock’s biggest challenge will be defeating Lugar. Mourdock has been winning several straw polls and while some news organizations are reporting that “Lugar has to be regarded as the underdog”, he has the benefit of name recognition and a sizable war chest. And he’s well respected by the “centrists” in Indiana. In fact, were Lugar to go the Joe Liebermann (ID-CT) route, I really don’t think he’d have much trouble winning.

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