Mourdock has met with many national conservative organizations that play in primaries, including the Tea Party Express, FreedomWorks, Club for Growth and Citizens United. None of these groups has backed Mourdock yet or shown as much interest in the Indiana Senate race as they have in Hatch’s contest until recently.
In early June, Club for Growth President Chris Chocola issued a press release declaring, “Run, Jason, Run,” intended to encourage Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) to challenge Hatch next year. The club never issued such a press release for Mourdock.
But the well-funded conservative group did release a harsh TV ad targeting Lugar and Hatch in their respective home states this week. After all, Chocola is a former GOP Congressman from north-central Indiana.
But the group might not be rushing to back Mourdock after he faltered in his first meeting with members in late February, according to two Republicans with knowledge of the event. As club members peppered him with questions, Mourdock was caught off-guard, became defensive and raised his voice.
“Mourdock was either unprepared for the issues that the club cared about most or unwilling to see the world as they see it,” one of the Republican sources said. “They wanted so badly to support Mourdock, but he gave them every reason not to.”
In an effort to make amends with the club, Mourdock requested a second meeting in early May that sources said was more productive.
“We’re just going to wait, and they’re going to come to us,” Mourdock said last week. “That’s fine. And if they don’t, I still think we’re going to win because we’ve got the ground game that they don’t appreciate.”
In the meantime, the club is keeping its ad targeting Lugar on the air indefinitely — a sign that conservatives will not let up on the Senator until they see him defeated.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.