By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin
ALEXANDRIA, Ind. —
In his first post-primary visit to Madison County on Wednesday, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Joe Donnelly visited the Poet Biorefining plant here to underscore his support for energy independence and Indiana corn farmers.
At least twice during the primary, Donnelly’s Republican challenger, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, blamed high gasoline prices in part on ethanol.
Donnelly isn’t about to let him forget it, and called both industries vital to Hoosier prosperity.
“We are fortunate to have such a vibrant industry in this state that benefits so many farmers,” Donnelly said. “While Richard Mourdock chooses to spread misinformation about ethanol, I am proud to be here today to recognize the importance of this industry to middle-class families and rural communities across the state.”
Donnelly characterized himself as a conservative Democrat who’s not afraid to disagree with the Obama administration.
“If I think the president is right, I’ll be with him. If not, I won’t be,” Donnelly said.
At the same time, he said he doesn’t shy from bipartisan cooperation. But Donnelly criticized Mourdock’s concept of bipartisanship, which is “doing what he wants,” Donnelly said.
“It’s a real sad thing for the country that people feel that way,” Donnelly said. “My experience in Congress is that when we work together we can get big things done.”
Mourdock defeated six-term Sen. Richard Lugar in the primary with backing from tea party political action committees, which pumped millions into the campaign on his behalf.
But Donnelly said he’s encouraged by post-election polling, which shows he and Mourdock are tied at 40 percent.
Among other findings, the poll conducted by Democratic pollster Global Strategy group showed that overall Hoosier regard for the tea party is not high. According to the polling data, 34 percent of Hoosier voters had a favorable view of the political movement, while 44 percent did not.
Although the Democrat’s fundraising has lagged behind his Republican challenger, Donnelly said he will have the resources to compete in the November general election, and “has tremendous faith in Hoosier common sense.”
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