Holt’s candor — be it serious or self-deprecating — is refreshing. Indeed, he has listed the same occupation on contributions this cycle to Senate hopeful Ted Cruz (R-TX), Congressional hopeful and former Rep. Charles Djou (R-HI), and unsuccessful Presidential hopeful Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). But the interests of scores of other donors to Mourdock’s campaign — and its “independent” supporters — may be less obvious.
Tuesday’s closely watched Indiana Senate Republican primary will not just determine whether six-term Sen. Dick Lugar or state Treasurer Mourdock will face Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) this November. It will also mean the end of a $4.4 million independent expenditure war between a wide array of Super PACs and 501(c)(4)s — the largest amount of any non-presidential race so far this cycle. Though Lugar’s campaign, at of the last reporting period, had outspent Mourdock’s $6.6 million to $2 million, Murdock’s haul fundraising is impressive for a primary challenger and the gap has been partially made up by the $2.6 million to $1.8 million advantage he’s enjoyed in outside group spending.
Among the biggest forces backing Mourdock:
- The Club for Growth — led by former Rep. Chris Chocola (R-IN), the Club’s 501(c)(4), traditional PAC, and its Club for Growth Action Super PAC have spent at least $1.6 million on ads backing Mourdock and blasting Lugar. The group calls Lugar a “R.I.N.O.” (Republican In Name Only) despite his 63 percent lifetime record of voting with the group’s anti-government agenda.
- FreedomWorks for America — former Rep. Dick Armey’s (R-TX) “astroturf” group has done mailings and run ads saying Lugar has “lost touch with Indiana values,” spending over $545,000.
- Gun rights groups — The National Rifle Association has spent more than $322,000 on independent expenditures, criticizing Lugar’s votes to confirm President Obama’s Supreme Court appointments. A trio of pro-gun political action committees have donated about $10,000 to Mourdock’s campaign.
- The financial sector — although Lugar voted against the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform bill, political action committees for banks and related interests contributed over $17,500 to Moudorck’s campaign and individuals listed as working in the industry kicked in another $35,000-plus.
- Wealthy investors — About $20,000 of Mourdock’s donations came from wealthy investors and investment management executives.
- Big polluters — Mourock, himself a former coal company executive, got $5,000 from Murray Energy’s PAC (representing the nation’s largest privately-owned coal company) and more than $18,000 in individual contributions from employees and executives at Murray and other coal, oil, and gas companies.
With one of the key pro-Lugar groups pulling its ads over the weekend, it is quite possible that the man tied with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) for the longest tenure of any current Senate Republican may see his political career ended by the man backed by those groups — and a self-described “slumlord.”