Indiana GOP Senate candidate, tarnished by rape remark, loses election

By Jonathan Terbush
Tuesday, November 6, 2012 22:24 EDT
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Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock (R), in a video pre-celebrating the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Screenshot via YouTube.
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At least one of the Republican Senate hopefuls who made headlines with controversial remarks about rape and pregnancy will be heading home, as news outlets reported Tuesday night that Richard Mourdock had lost his bid to represent Indiana.

The news is a blow to Republican hopes of retaking the Senate, as they’d counted on holding the seat currently held by Richard Lugar (R). As of 10 pm, Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) was projected to take over that seat.

Mourdock, a Tea Pary favorite who defeated Lugar in a divisive primary by challenging him from the right, led comfortably for most of the race. Yet in the closing month of the campaign, he stumbled mightily over women’s issues, making controversial remarks that drew widespread criticism.

In late October, Mourdock said during a debate that pregnancy as the result of rape was part of God’s plan, and that would-be mother’s should therefore keep unplanned children. That statement sparked unfavorable comparisons to Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) comments about “legitimate rape,” and to Republican policies toward women in general.

“I believe life begins at conception,” Mourdock said in the debate. “The only exception I have for to have an abortion is in the case of the life of the mother. I struggled with myself for a long time but I came to realize life is that gift from God, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape. It is something that God intended to happen.”

Donnelly joined Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts as the second Democrat to unseat a Republican incumbent this year.

Jonathan Terbush
Jonathan Terbush
Jon Terbush is a Boston-based writer whose work has appeared in Talking Points Memo, Business Insider, the New Haven Register, and elsewhere. He tweets about politics, cats, and baseball via @jonterbush.
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