Jackie Walorski, the former state lawmaker who is seeking to recapture the 2nd Congressional District for Republicans, spoke at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday, becoming the only Hoosier to formally address the full convention this year. It has been up to another Midwest state, Wisconsin, to steal a lion’s share of the limelight as favorite sons Governor Scott Walker and Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan deliver keynote addresses. Walorski effectively used her time to talk up Indiana, and tout the fiscal turnaround the state experienced under Governor Mitch Daniels. ” In the face of record unemployment, we understood that more government spending won’t create jobs,” Walorski said in a precise, three-minute speech that sounded an upbeat note that ostensibly set expectations for what voters should expect if they elect Republicans in November.
Walorski’s Democratic opponent, Washington, D.C. contractor Brendan Mullen, who returned to Indiana to run for Congress, used the speech as a predictable chance to take a swipe at Walorski. “I had hoped she would eschew this most partisan of political events to stay here in Indiana, talking to voters. I will not be attending the Democratic National Convention,” Mullen declared.
Despite his attempt to cast himself as independent of party ties, it appears that Mullen’s avoidance of the DNC comes not from principle but from orders issued by party bosses to Democratic candidates in competitive races. Congressman Steve Israel, the party’s chairman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, ordered Democratic congressional candidates to avoid the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
It appears that Mullen is following those orders perfectly.
Lest it seem odd that Democrats tell Democrats not to associate with Democrats, a quick look at President Obama’s state-by-state approval ratings makes sense of the order that Democrats like Mullen avoid the convention. In only 14 states does the President’s approval rating reach 50% or higher. In Indiana, a state Barack Obama won in 2008, his approval rating is a tepid 38%. Democrats hoping against hope that they can recapture the House of Representatives know that the President’s coattails are close to non-existent in many of the states that are home to key majority-making congressional races.
The bottom line is President Barack Obama is not popular in states like Indiana, and Democrats feel their best bet to even come within the margin of competition in some congressional races is to run candidates like Mullen who can be chameleon Democrats – willing to campaign against their party while being a part of the party.