Many considered it a huge upset when Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock defeated Dick Lugar — the longest serving senator in Indiana history — in May’s primary election.
One person who was not surprised by the outcome of that election, however, was Mourdock himself.
“I never doubted for a second I would win,” he said.
Mourdock said his confidence was born from the fact that, after he was re-elected as state treasurer in 2010, he began getting calls from GOP officials asking him to consider running for Senate.
“It was very kind, very nice, very thoughtful and very flattering,” he said.
Initially Mourdock resisted the pressure, but eventually he succumbed.
On the day he announced his candidacy, 75 percent of Indiana’s GOP Party chairman gave their endorsements to Mourdock, as did over half of the Republican State Committee.
“That was on day one,” Mourdock said. “So I was confident.”
Mourdock went on to win by a large margin, and is now campaigning for the November General Election where he will face the current representative from Indiana’s 2nd congressional district, Democrat Joe Donnelly.
Mourdock was in Montgomery County on Thursday. One of the stops he made was at Nucor Steel, where he spoke to plant officials and senior staff members.
“They spoke to me at length about their concerns,” Mourdock said.
Those concerns, Mourdock said, included international trade policy, energy costs, the environment and taxes.
“Nucor has been incredibly successful and innovative, and that’s great to see,” Mourdock said.
The Republican candidate has served as Indiana’s treasurer since 2007. He has made known his positions on many issues. For instance, he has said in the past that “we need less bipartisanship in Congress.” Mourdock said his detractors have tried to make it seem as though he opposes bipartisanship altogether, which he maintained is not the case.
“I will work with anyone in a bipartisan way,” he said. “I’m willing to talk and to compromise, but you have to make government more accountable. The opposition has tried to make me look like some right-wing wingnut.”
Having leaders who have not supported bipartisanship in all cases, Mourdock said, has led to Indiana having smaller government. People have told him, he said, they are proud that the Hoosier State was one of two states in the Union to not go into the red during the country’s latest recession.
“The reason we were able to stay in the red was because we made the right decisions and the hard decisions,” he said. “The national debt stands at $16 trillion. We can’t cut our way out of that. We have to grow our way out of it.”
Mourdock has spoken in the past about his opposition to the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which was first introduced in the Senate in 2001 and would provide conditional permanent residency to some undocumented residents.
“We are never going to have, nor should we have, trucks being filled with immigrants and sent back to the border,” he said. “What I am in favor of is something called self-deportation.”
This, Mourdock explained, would be a situation in which an illegal immigrant would return to his or her home country, then present officials at the U.S. Embassy with proof of his or her employment or family ties in the United States.
“They would then be able to get a fast-track visa to come back,” Mourdock said. “The problem I have with the DREAM Act is that it rewards bad behavior. Illegal immigration is breaking the law. Period. People talk about the children who didn’t break the law, but this act still rewards their parents.”
Mourdock said where laws are concerned, including those governing immigration, there are few gray areas.
“It makes it sound like I don’t have great compassion, but the fact when government picks and chooses what laws it’s going to enforce there is no longer equal protection under the law,” he said.
Mourdock also favors consumption-based taxes.
“I think we need to re-do the tax code,” he said. “The fact is, 47 percent of all American homes pay no income tax. There has to be a consumption-based tax so that everyone is accountable and has some idea of the cost of government.”
Some have argued that consumption-based taxes would put a great burden on America’s poor. Mourdock said people below certain income levels would get a portion of the consumption-based taxes they paid during the year back at tax time.
Mourdock is also not in favor of earmark spending.
“Earmark spending is fundamentally outside the way a good budget should work,” he said. “Everyone should have to make arguments that their projects are the best thing for the public interest.”