WASHINGTON -- Democrats are criticizing Indiana Republican U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock for removing pre-primary material from his website, saying that it is evidence that he is distancing himself from the Tea Party base that helped his primary win.
Politico reported Wednesday that Mourdock had taken down material since the May 8 primary where he defeated U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar (R), with the support of Tea Party groups nationally and in Indiana. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee was quick to accuse Mourdock of hiding from his association with the Tea Party as he heads into a general election battle against Rep. Joe Donnelly (D).
"Richard Mourdock isn't fooling anyone," DSCC spokesman Shripal Shah said. "There's no denying that Richard Mourdock is committed to extreme Tea Party policies that could have cost Indiana 140,000 jobs. While he is now trying to hide from his Tea Party roots, the fact is that Mourdock's candidacy is entrenched in extreme, out-of-touch policies and a commitment to bringing more rigid partisanship to Washington."
Mourdock campaign spokesman Chris Connor told HuffPost that the website changes were in preparation for the general election campaign. "The primary race is over so we are updating our website accordingly," Connor said. "We look forward to the fall election."
The DSCC points out that Mourdock still has tweets on his campaign Twitter account that showcase his history with the Tea Party. These include tweets announcing his support from Sarah Palin and from a local Tea Party group, and an ad attacking Lugar.
The tweets also center on Mourdock's opposition to the auto industry bailout and going to court to block Chrysler's bankruptcy proceedings.
"Over the course of his Tea Party career, Richard Mourdock has questioned the constitutionality of Social Security and Medicare and spent $2 million in taxpayer dollars on a lawsuit that could’ve jeopardized over 100,000 Indiana jobs. And now he's calling for more partisan gridlock in Washington," Shah said
Mourdock, the Indiana state treasurer, defeated the six-term Lugar based on his support from Tea Party groups, along with a campaign that painted Lugar as out of touch with Indiana. FreedomWorks, a national Tea Party organization based in Washington, and Tea Party leaders in Indiana told The Huffington Post last week that it believes the formula used to elect Mourdock could be duplicated nationally to elect conservative Republicans to the Senate.
The leaders of Hoosiers for a Conservative Senate told HuffPost that they formed the umbrella group to unite more than 80 Tea Party groups in Indiana with the goal of defeating Lugar. The group said it backed Mourdock after seeing him speak at a FreedomWorks-sponsored rally on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in 2011. It also used volunteers across the state to bolster his campaign.
The Indiana group said they plan to share their blueprint backing Mourdock with other states going forward.
"There was a methodical process and blueprint that Indiana is excited to share with the world," Hoosiers for a Conservative Senate co-founder Monica Boyer told HuffPost last week.