Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 7, 2012

Howard Co.: Mourdock remark a vote changer

Women in Howard County say they changed their vote after debate

By Ken de la Bastide
Tribune staff writer

Kokomo — Comments made by Republican Richard Mourdock concerning abortion during the final Senatorial debate cost him some women votes in Howard County.

“I believe that life begins at conception,” Mourdock said during an Oct. 23 debate.

He said the only exception for an abortion he would consider is when the mother’s life is in danger.

“I just struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God that I think even if life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

Having upset incumbent Richard Lugar in the May primary, Mourdock was in a tight race with Democrat Joe Donnelly for the Indiana seat in the U.S. Senate.

“The comment didn’t help him,” Vicki Lawrence, of Howard County, said Tuesday.

Many believe Mourdock’s comments — which were the subject of numerous political ads — gave Donnelly the advantage in the final weeks of the campaign.

 “I had pretty much decided anyway,” Lawrence said. “Probably, if I was in favor of him, I would have voted no.”

But ultimately for Lawrence, the comments didn’t change her vote.

“I didn’t really care for him or Mr. Pence,” she said.

It was a different story for Jane Auxsel, who said it changed her vote in the Senate race. Normally a Republican who votes straight ticket, she said she couldn’t do that in this election.

“I didn’t like his comment,” she said. “I couldn’t vote for him because of that. He hung himself.”

Bobbie Egloff agreed, saying Mourdock’s comments changed how she voted Tuesday.

“His comment about abortion definitely changed my mind,” she said. “I usually vote Republican.”

“I was probably leaning toward Mourdock,” Egloff said. “I wanted to vote the Democrats out of office no matter what. I was planning to vote Republican.”

In the end she voted for Libertarian Andy Horning.

For Elaine Wanke, Mourdock didn’t have her vote in the first place because she considered him a loose cannon even before the debate.

“I understand what he meant, but he picked a crazy way to say it,” she said. “If he would get elected, he would do the same thing.”

She said Mourdock scares her because you never know what he might say.

Phylis Schrader was already planning to vote for Donnelly because of his support of veterans, but admits Mourdock’s comments solidified her decision.