INDIANAPOLIS — Democrat Joe Donnelly and Republican Richard Mourdock are spending the final hours of their fierce race for a U.S. Senate seat touring the state telling voters almost the same thing: a message of “send me to Washington” if you want to break the partisan gridlock.
They’re echoing that message with similar words as well: send the other guy and things will only get worse.
On Monday morning, both candidates kicked off the final leg of the race, meeting with supporters and urging voters to get to the polls today. Each had a party stalwart with them: Mourdock had Republican Sen. Dan Coats at his side, while Donnelly had former Sen. Evan Bayh, the last Democrat to represent Indiana in the Senate.
“I don’t think Hoosiers could have a more clear choice than they have in this race,” Mourdock told reporters at the First Watch Café in Indianapolis, where he greeted breakfast diners before starting a fly-around of the state. “It’s either get away from the politics of (President Barack) Obama that Joe Donnelly has supported or let’s have some more gridlock.”
Within an hour, just up the road in a Democrat campaign field office in the affluent Indianapolis suburb of Fishers, Donnelly and Bayh were deploying the same kind of language to make the argument for Donnelly.
Describing the partisan-paralyzed Congress as “broken,” Bayh said: “The only way to improve it is to send people who work together.” He added: “If we had more Joe Donnellys in the Senate it wouldn’t be as broken as it is.”
Another common theme that emerged in their comments: It’s the other side to blame for making the race the most expensive Senate contest in Indiana history. More than $20 million has been spent so far; nearly half of the money from outside groups has been spent the last three weeks.