Will Prayer Save Richard Mourdock in Tuesday Election?
Indiana Politics Heating Up as Tuesday Approaches
By Rick Yencer
SELMA, IN - Republican Richard Mourdock turned to prayer Saturday to salvage his multi-million dollar race for U.S. Senate against Democratic Congressman Joe Donnelly.
Billed as a Faith, Family and Freedom rally, local evangelist Andrew Phipps led nearly 200 followers during a revival and a "laying on of the hands" prayer for helping Mourdock and other local Republican candidates to defeat their Democratic foes and prevail in Tuesday's election.
The revival was closed to the media and as a writer with the Muncie Free Press, I was ordered off the Occasions Banquet Center property by followers of local gospel celebrity Phipps and other Mourdock supporters. "You are trouble," said Lee, saying he owned the facility.
Mourdock did not even stop to talk to the media, saying he had been invited by the group to speak. News of the event was circulated among local Christian churches before Mourdock destroyed his campaign by saying during a debate that pregnancy resulting from rape is something God intended.
In a recent Howey-DePauw, Mourdock fell by 10 points behind Donnelly who was in Jeffersonville and other southern Indiana towns Saturday campaigning in public. Donnelly spokesman Liz Shappell said the poll indicated that Hoosiers were clearly rejecting Mourdock's "my way or the highway" mentality and supporting Donnelly's common sense approach to governing.
Even some Republicans locally wondered about Mourdock turning to God in the final days to save his campaign. Veteran Muncie City Council member David Taylor said he was not going to the rally after supporting U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar who Mourdock beat in the primary.
However, local Republican Party Chairman Will Statom was participating in the revival where the group joined in prayer by putting their hands on each other. And so did Brad Oliver, Republican candidate for House District 34 against Democrat Sue Errington, as did State Rep. Bill Davis, R-Portland, and Steve Fields, Republican candidate for Delaware County commissioners.
Some people attending the rally were unaware the event would turn into an evangelical revival as Phipps delivered a powerful sermon similar to those during the Crusades where followers would be encouraged to slay their foes.
One participant explained Republicans were turning to God to elect them and using scripture to justify their means.And at no time during the revival, did Mourdock apologize or mention his rape, pregnancy, God remark.
Such conservative, Christian campaigning has been ongoing in Delaware County in weeks leading up to Tuesday's election,
The radical, national pro-life group, 40 days, has set up shop next to local Planned Parenthood offices since last month, protesting any effort to deny the life of the unborn. Some of those protests nationally have become violent and the group has support from Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence who wanted to defund Planned Parenthood. Some Republican lawmakers take the same position.
And Advance America, that tax reform, family values group of Indiana attorney Eric Miller, has been meeting and handing out scorecards on their issues that range from traditional marriage and pro life to tax reform and limited government spending. Most times, Republican candidates get Advance America's endorsement that also promotes straight ticket voting.
Donnelly was last seen in eastern Indiana on Thursday as Democrats were on the bus through eastern Indiana. At the stop in Hartford City, Donnelly was confident that Hoosiers would turn to common sense instead of the extreme values of Mourdock in electing a U.S. Senator.
And Democratic gubernatorial hopeful John Gregg promised to stop the war on working people, women and public schools that Republicans have waged in recent years. He remains more than five points behind Pence who has secured Lucas Oil Stadium on election night to celebrate his likely victory. Pence was around the area a week ago and in Muncie last month, promoting Oliver's campaign.