Conservatives hope to shift narrative in wake of Mourdock's rape statement.
Image by Michael Conroy / AP
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The conservative Club for Growth is throwing more of its weight behind embattled Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, hoping to counter a flood of money and support for his Democratic opponent.
During a debate Tuesday evening, Mourdock said pregnancy from rape is "something God intended." The remark has since garnered national attention, providing Democrats with a ripe opportunity to pull ahead in what has been a hotly contested tossup race. Majority Whip Dick Durbin will headline a fundraiser Monday to support Democatic Rep. Joe Donnelly, Mourdock's opponent.
But even as some Republicans have criticized Mourdock, the party is continuing to back him in principle and financially. In the final 11 days before Election Day, the Club for Growth, for its part, will commit more money to airing a 30-second television ad that says Mourdock "opposes job-killing tax hikes, regulations, and debts."
The Club for Growth would not say by exactly how much it is increasing its spending in Indiana; a spokesman, Barney Keller, called it "substantial." With its latest ad buy, the group's total spending in the race exceeds $3.5 million.
Last week, the outside group committed an additional $600,000 to the tight Senate race between Mourdock and Donnelly.
Prior to the Senate debate, the race was considered a tossup, but Mourdock held a slight lead many polls—but his standing in the race has since slipped. On Friday, a poll published by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee showed Mourdock trailing Donnelly by 7 points, 47 percent to 40 percent; meanwhile, an internal poll released by Mourdock's campaign showed the race tied at 44 percent.
Although some Republicans, such as Sen. John McCain, have distanced themselves from Mourdock in light of his remark, others, such as Sen. John Cornyn, the head of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, have maintained their support.