By Ken de la Bastide
Although Richard Mourdock wasn’t at the Howard County Republican Party Round-up, he got plenty of support from the state and national candidates.
Mourdock has been embroiled in controversy over remarks made during a Senatorial debate earlier this week, but from party chairman Craig Dunn to gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence, they all urged his election.
“I know there are some who disagree and I respect their point of view but I believe that life begins at conception,” Mourdock said Tuesday, “The only exception I have to have an abortion is in that case of the life of the mother. 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.”
More than 400 Republicans gathered at the Elite Banquet Center Friday in preparation for the election day effort Nov. 6. With most local races unopposed, the focus was on electing Mitt Romney as president and Pence as the next Indiana governor.
Before the political speech-making began the parents of Bradley Atwell, who killed in Afghanistan in September, were presented with American and Indiana flags that flew over the respective capital buildings.
Kim Atwell urged those in attendance to “vote for freedom” Nov. 6.
Dunn said he was the second party chairman to endorse Mourdock in his primary fight with incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar.
“I understand there are people in this room who didn’t vote for him,” he said.
Dunn said that although he doesn’t agree with everything that may have been said, Mourdock will be the 51st Republican vote in the U.S. Senate.
“I’m standing firm with Richard Mourdock in this campaign,” he said.
Todd Rokita, running for re-election in the 4th Congressional District, which includes western Howard County, said Mourdock will fight for the people of Indiana.
“He is an honest, good man,” he said. “He cares about nothing but the best for this state and nation.”
Pence said Indiana will be the first state that elects Romney for president on election night.
“He needs the right partners in Congress,” Pence said. “We need to send Richard Mourdock as the 51st Republican senator.”
Susan Brooks, running for the 5th District seat, which includes eastern Howard County, said she didn’t agree with everything that Mourdock said during the campaign.
She said his work as Indiana State Treasurer as a fiscal conservative is needed in the Congress.
Pence’s running mate, Sue Ellspermann, said Indiana has been blessed by eight years of tremendous leadership during the term of Gov. Mitch Daniels and Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman.
She said the state is fiscally sound, business friendly and has reduced the corporate income tax rate and is phasing out the inheritance tax.
Ellspermann said passage of Right to Work legislation earlier this year did two things, it prevents people from paying union dues and has promoted investment in the state.
She said since January, 83 companies have located in Indiana and right to work was a key factor. Ellspermann said this companies brought $2.5 billion in investments and created 8,500 jobs.
Pence said he ran for governor for two reasons because he “loved” the state and has a plan.
“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there,” he said. “We have a road map to cut taxes and promote economic freedom. We want to put more Hoosiers to work than ever before.”
Pence said with a new energy and the right leadership Indiana can take the lead in the Midwest and be among the fastest growing economies in the nation.
Brooks said this election is about fighting for the next generation and that voters are ready for a change.
“They’re ready for leadership, fiscal responsibility and getting people back to work,” she said.
Brooks urged those in attendance to talk with friends in the presidential swing states of Ohio and Florida about the importance of the election.
Rotika said Republicans in Congress believe people can make better decisions for themselves, then the government can. He said Democrats believe just the opposite.
“What’s there to compromise? All the compromises over the past decade has led to is $16 trillion in debt,” he said.
Rokita said when he went to the U.S. House you couldn’t talk about reforming Social Security and Medicare.
“Eighteen months later there is a guy on the national ticket of a major political party that’s all he talks about,” he said of vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.