Friday, April 15, 2011

Donnelly's Numbers Good in Fundraising Fight; Decision Time Looms


Indiana's 2nd District Congressman Joe Donnelly has done a more than decent job the last quarter in his fundraising pulling in over $363,000. The question now is what to do with that cash?

I doubt you will see Donnelly return to the 2nd Congressional District if the new maps go through the General Assembly. The 2nd District is going to be much more of a Republican District now, and Donnelly will likely take his chances elsewhere.

That could be Governor, but, given his public statements and interviews, I think Donnelly is going to give the Senate race a go. It's a race where he will likely be the underdog, but he's kind of used to that role.

Donnelly was unsuccessful in his first run for office, and early on in his second run, many thought Chris Chocola would go on to another term in that district. Donnelly stayed his course and ended up winning his first term in Congress. As a Congressman, Donnelly has been relatively independent taking up residence in the Blue Dog wing of the Democratic Party. He is one of the most conservative Democrats in Washington.

If he can pull the Democrats together, he might have a shot at this thing. Lugar is no spring chicken, and there's no guarantee that he's going to win the primary against Richard Mourdock. His chances get better if someone like Mike Delph enters the race splitting the Tea Party vote, but what happens to that Tea Party vote if Lugar wins? Do they simply vote for him because he's a Republican? I don't know. Maybe they choose to boycott that race. That gives Donnelly a chance to win if Lugar can't somehow mend that fence. Without Democratic crossovers that Lugar usually gets, it's easy to see a scenario where a well-financed Donnelly has a chance to win the Senate race in 2012.

Cart is way before the horse, and Lugar or even Mourdock is probably the favorite to beat Donnelly as it stands today, but election 2012 is still over a year off and much can change between now and then. The last few months of 2008 showed that clearly.

Given his background and his reputation as a dogged fighter and a good campaigner, I wouldn't count out Donnelly. Should be interesting to see what the Congressman decides to do.

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