Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin knows the chances of Barack Obama winning the Hoosier state in the presidential race aren't good.
Republican Mitt Romney has a double-digit lead in the Republican-leaning state, even though Obama won the state four years ago.
Despite the numbers, Durbin says that doesn’t mean bad news for Joe Donnelly, a Democratic congressman from South Bend.
Donnelly’s in a tight Senate race against Republican Richard Mourdock for Dick Lugar’s old seat.
Durbin says he feels confident about Donnelly joining him in the Senate, especially after visiting the campaign in Indianapolis last week.
“There are a lot of ticket-splitters in Indiana, Republicans who said they can’t vote for Mourdock because of some of things he’s said,” Durbin said. “They find Joe Donnelly to be a good option, a good alternative. We feel good about his race. He still has a lot of work to do. We feel good about his winning in Indiana.
Recent polls show the Donnelly-Mourdock race either tied or with Donnelly a few points ahead.
In a debate last week, Mourdock, who also serves as Indiana’s state treasurer, had to defend himself from criticism over controversial comments he made about rape, God and abortion.
Romney said he disagreed with Mourdock’s stance that if a woman gets pregnant from rape, it’s what God intended. But Romney supports Mourdock’s bid for the Senate and even made a commercial for his campaign. The Romney campaign did not ask Mourdock to pull the ad after his comments on abortion.
For his part, Mourdock said the comments have not hurt him with Republican voters.
The race is being closely watched because it could help tip the balance of power in Washington.