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Republican Senate hopeful Richard Mourdock took a low-key approach to his campaign bid Thursday evening in Adams County, professing respect for his veteran opponent and spending most of his time behind the podium talking about the strengths and virtues of Abraham Lincoln.
Mourdock was the featured speaker at the annual Adams County Republican Party Lincoln Day dinner, held at South Adams High School with some 100 party members in attendance. He took office as Indiana’s treasurer in February of 2007 and was re-elected in November of 2010.
Mourdock, who is challenging longtime Sen. Richard Lugar in the May 8 primary election, called Lugar "a great public servant" who deserves the respect of all Hoosiers for his lengthy tenure in the U.S. Senate.
"Mr. Lugar is not my enemy, but he certainly has been my opponent," Mourdock said. "If I fail in this race, I will support Dick Lugar for U.S. Senate. We simply cannot have Harry Reid continue as Senate Majority Leader."
Mourdock said he was approached by many GOP party members in the summer of 2010 about a possible Senate bid. "And what made me decide this was worth doing? Well, as Republicans, we like competition. Competition in business, in free enterprise. Most of us agree that charter schools can be a good thing. So I decided that is was equally good to have competition in the marketplace of conservative ideas."
A history buff, Moudock spent most of his time extolling the strengths of Lincoln. "He fought to make this nation a place where any individual could rise base on their own ability and intellect. I challenge you to think: Are we still that nation of equality? We are either all equal or we're hypocrites. Lincoln defined the Republican Party as that unique place where all people can rise. Let's have as our primary purpose the elevation of all men and women."
Mourdock, likely by design, left most of the heavy political lifting to the only speaker of the evening who is not facing primary or general election opposition.
State Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, attempted to rally the political faithful by urging them to become involved in "what I truly believe is the most important election of our lifetime."
"These are some of the most critical times in our history. We have to make the right decisions in November about what happens to our country," Holdman said. "We have to turn this country around. Our civilization and our culture will fail if we don't make some drastic changes in how we do business. That will happen if we do not put President Romney in the White House."
Also speaking at the dinner were State Rep. Matt Lehman, R-Berne, and newly-appointed Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson.