Will Andy Horning play spoiler in the Senate race?September 28th, 2012 at 2:50 pm by Jim Shella under Jim Shella's Political Blog
The most surprising finding in a new Senate poll is the showing of Libertarian Andy Horning and it raises the possibility that Horning will play the role of spoiler in November. The Howey/DePauw poll shows Democrat Joe Donnelly ahead by just 2%. Horning is at 7% and, if Donnelly wins, the presence of Horning in the race could be a big reason why.
Four years ago Horning was on the ballot for governor, his second attempt at statewide office. He won about 3% of the vote. We caught up with Horning by phone today in Ohio where he called the poll results unexpected. “I mean every election I’ve always polled higher, you know, early on than I have on Election day,” said Horning. “This is better than I’ve ever seen before and the race is tighter.
Pollster Christine Matthews tweeted that Horning’s support is coming from Republicans, presumably Lugar Republicans unwilling to support Richard Mourdock. Mourdock still hopes to win them back. “Since Labor Day we know that those Republicans who were certainly unhappy that Mr. Lugar was even challenged, those folks are coming our direction in big numbers,” says Mourdock.
Meantime, Indiana Libertarian Party Executive Director Chris Spangle enjoys the attention directed at Horning. “Absolutely it helps the party,” says Spangle. “We have made a conscious effort to take advantage of this year.” Yet both Horning and Spangle don’t agree that Horning might be a spoiler for Mourdock. “This isn’t their race.” says Horning. “It’s up to voters.” Horning does accept, however, that most of his support is coming from Republicans.
The possibility of a Libertarian spoiler is something that Democrat Joe Donnelly is familiar with. Two years ago Donnelly was re-elected to Congress in a race that he won by a little more than a percentage point. The Libertarian in that race received almost 5% of the vote.