While presidential battleground states are saturated with messages on the economy, taxes and health care, quite a different topic of discussion has garnered surprise consensus in Indiana’s competitive Senate race, on a topic politicians don’t talk about very often once they get to Washington, D.C.
All three of the Hoosier State’s Senate candidates–Democratic representative Joe Donnelly, Republican state treasurer Richard Mourdock, and Libertarian Andrew Horning–all voiced support for federal term limits in Tuesday night’s debate.
“I absolutely would, in fact I’ve signed on to that very type of plan,” Mourdock said in response to a question about limiting the terms of U.S. senators and representatives. “I believe in term limits, and I think they’re a good thing. I think they keep turning over ideas. … You know, there is a myth in Washington, and certainly among people who oppose term limits, is that we need all this seniority to have good ideas.”
In the Republican primary, Mourdock unseated incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar, who ties Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch as the longest-serving Republican in the Senate. Mourdock received a donation from a term-limits organization in April.
Horning, the Libertarian candidate, said he had changed his position to agree. “I used to oppose term limits, because it’s more or less a recognition that voters are not doing their job. Isn’t that what you should be doing in the voting booth?” Horning said. “But I have to admit that yes, I’ve come around, and I do think we need to have term limits, and I agree that it should be pretty severe limits, maybe two terms of Senate, couple of terms or maybe three terms in the House.”
Donnelly, the only candidate among the three with experience in Washington, D.C., gave a half-agreement, noting his decision not to run for another term in the House.
“I have served three terms in the House and have said, ‘You know what? I have done work to try to save our auto industry, tried to stand up for our vets, worked for the state of Indiana, and … if I have the privilege to serve in the Senate, I would think that if I was fortunate enough to win, two terms would be plenty, and then it’s time to come back home to Indiana,” Donnelly said. “So, I think it’s a program that can work, but I think also even more than term limits we put on ourselves, or some legislative term limits, it’s the people who make that decision by going to vote.”