Monday, October 3, 2011

Lugargeddon: Tea Party Express Endorses Richard Mourdock

Another day, another tea party organization endorses GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock.

The weekend before last, it was Hoosiers for (a) Conservative Senate.

Now, it's the national Tea Party Express:

Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, US Senate Candidate running against 35 year incumbent Senator Dick Lugar in the 2012 Republican Primary, was endorsed today by the national grassroots organization TEA Party Express at Mourdock’s campaign headquarters. TEA Party Express’ support comes on the heels of Treasurer Mourdock being endorsed by the Hoosiers for a Conservative Senate (HFCS) this past weekend at their TEA Party convention in Greenfield, Indiana.

“I appreciate the endorsement of TEA Party Express and the support of their leaders Amy Kremer and Sal Russo,” explained Treasurer Mourdock. “It is a reflection of the momentum and strength our campaign continues to gain on a daily basis.”

Over the weekend, Treasurer Mourdock was also endorsed by HFCS at a statewide convention of 55 individual TEA Party groups across Indiana.

Amy Kremer, Chair of TEA Party Express (TPE) expressed their support of Treasurer Mourdock’s campaign by stating, “We are proud to endorse Richard Mourdock for US Senate. For far too long, Senator Lugar has compromised the basic principles of fiscal responsibility that the TEA Party represents. As his voting record tracked increasingly to the left, it became clear it was time for Lugar to be replaced. Richard Mourdock is a principled conservative with an impressive record of fighting for Constitutionally limited government. The people of Indiana and the United States as a whole will be well represented with integrity by Richard Mourdock, and the TEA Party Express will be working hard to ensure he becomes the next Senator from Indiana.”

TPE’s endorsement is the latest of a growing list of conservative leaders and organizations in support of Mourdock’s candidacy: Herman Cain, Mark Levin, Steve Forbes, Dick Morris, Erick Erickson, Citizens United, Gun Owners of America, The National Republican Trust PAC, the Minuteman PAC and the National Association for Gun Rights.

Sharron Angle endorsed Mourdock last week (with her huge donor list), too.

Back in July, I outlined my theory about how grassroots conservatives are revolutionizing the primary process, and what that means here in Indiana:

Traditionally, incumbents (particularly in primaries) were very difficult to beat. They had access to campaign resources vastly greater than their opponents (generally from special interests inside the Beltway) that were not available to challengers (both in primaries and in general elections).

One of the revolutions in politics brought about by the internet and the impact of the internet on grassroots politics is that challengers that would normally not have access to national-scale resources and donor pools now have them. Grassroots conservatives nationwide can now impact races and counter the traditional Beltway special interest fundraising advantages of entrenched incumbents.

We haven't seen this phenomenon in Indiana, yet, but we saw it play out in countless races in other states in 2010 with candidates far less able than Richard Mourdock and challengers much more entrenched than Dick Lugar.

The internet and the Tea Party are a force multiplier for grassroots conservatives nationwide. Now, with a few clicks, they can use their numbers to bring vast resources to bear very quickly (in 2010, the impact could be seen in some races overnight).

The fundraising potential of out-of-state grassroots conservatives is the great equalizer in this sort of race. They're heavy artillery outside of the local battlefield that can land a devastating amount of conservative firepower on the incumbent establishment moderate with little to no warning.

That's why these endorsements for Richard Mourdock matter.

This campaign is a marathon, not a sprint, and Mourdock's campaign reflects that.