For the first time in a while, one of Indiana's US Senate races is drawing national attention. With the defeat of Senator Richard Lugar by State Treasurer Richard Mourdock in the Republican primary, the general election race between Mourdock and Democratic Congressman Joe Donnelly is drawing attention from both sides. A year ago, it was almost a forgone conclusion that Republicans would gain a slim majority in the Senate. But now, with some primary shenanigans and a few gaffes here and there, Democrats think they might be able to hold onto a slim majority.
What gets a lot of attention in political races is the television ad wars, and to a lesser extent, Internet based ads. These types of ads are easy to access for the Gang of 500, the media people and the pundits that push the national media's narrative. Sure, they live in the Washington D.C. or New York City area, and don't see the ads on TV themselves. But they have access to media libraries and the Internet and can see them that way.
What often gets lost in that coverage is the much more effective, and often more expensive, direct mail war. There's a variety of reasons why it isn't covered, and to local media's credit they sometimes do cover them in their online content. But it is still something not talked much about.
Since I have a...shall we say, diverse primary voting history, I tend to get stuff from both political sides. And this weekend, I was bombarded with stuff from FreedomWorks. The candidate they're backing, Mourdock, had a bit of a gaffe last week and they're trying to remind people what this election is really about: How buddy-buddy Joe Donnelly is with Barack Obama, and how politically, they're basically identical.
Having thumbed through it, I started to notice something. There is a lot about Joe Donnelly in here. There is a lot about President Obama as well, pointing out what they see as similarities. But this mailer is not about Richard Mourdock. In fact, among the 39 pages, Mourdock is only mentioned between pages 7-10 for a total of five times. Senator Lugar also gets the same amount of mentions as well, in about the same page spread.