Democrats are trying to keep the heat on Republicans in tight Senate races by attacking their financial ties to Richard Mourdock, the Indiana Senate candidate who recently sparked a furor by saying that pregnancies from rape were intended by God.
Mourdock, the state treasurer, later said he did not mean that God wants women to be raped, but he stood by his broader opposition to nearly all abortions on the grounds that all life is a gift from God. He did not apologize for the sentiment, but said he was sorry if people misinterpreted it.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is making Ohio state Treasurer Josh Mandel the top target of their campaign, which also hits Nevada, Virginia, Massachusetts, Montana and Wisconsin.
Mandel, the DSCC notes, got some $80,000 from joint fundraising committees that also back Mourdock, namely the 2012 Senators Classic Committee and the Founders Committee.
The DSCC says Mandel should give the money back, otherwise it shows he condones Mourdock's views.
"Ohioans should know that a vote for Josh Mandel is a vote for Richard Mourdock and his heinous view on rape," said DSCC spokesman Matt Canter. "Richard Mourdock and Josh Mandel have stood shoulder to shoulder in this campaign, and even started their own joint fundraising committee."
Mandel's campaign did not answer a request for comment, but on Laura Ingraham's radio show Thursday, Mandel said that he still supports Mourdock.
"He's a gentleman. He's a class act. He apologized for his comments and I accept that,” Mandel said, although Mourdock did not actually apologize. Mandel, like Mourdock, opposes abortion in cases of rape.
Brian Walsh, a spokesman for the DSCC's counterpart, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, derided the attacks as a distraction.
"This is a pathetic and desperate effort to distract voters from the Democrats' abysmal record on the economy over the last four years," Walsh said. "But working families and small businesses who have suffered under the Democrats' economy won't be fooled by sideshows like this."
In the other states, the DSCC is making similar charges, noting that Sen. Scott Brown (Mass.) and Tommy Thompson (Wis.) each got about $100,000 from the committees; Rep. Denny Rehberg (Mont.) got $135,000; Sen. Dean Heller (Nev.) got $107,000, and former Sen. George Allen (Va.) received $150,000.