MERRILLVILLE | A local Richard Mourdock supporter credited negative views of President Barack Obama among Republicans in explaining a large turnout for the U.S. Senate candidate at a Merrillville rally.
"I really like Mourdock. He's very much what is needed. I see a whole new spirit in the Republican party thanks to Obama," Lakes of the Four Seasons resident Blythe Cozza said.
Cozza was among hundreds of Republicans who packed a ballroom Wednesday at the Radisson Hotel to hear speeches by Mourdock and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
The event, called the Right Track Stop in Lake County, included a gubernatorial debate viewing party, a private party and a rally.
Mourdock is the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate hoping to defeat Democrat Rep. Joe Donnelly and Libertarian Andrew Horning.
Christie, whose speech drew rounds of applause, laughs and even cheers from the crowd, said Mourdock will be his own man if elected.
"Richard Mourdock has a principled background and courage," Christie said.
Christie told those at the rally to do their best to get Mourdock elected.
"I expect all of you to wear your heart on your sleeves..You don't want to wake up on Nov. 7 and see Donnelly beat Mourdock by so much," Christie said.
Christie, a Republican, also spoke of his own challenges at running for governor in a state in which Democrats outnumber Republicans by 700,000.
In the end, Christie said, he won his election in 2009 by attracting independents and even some Democrats because he maintained his principles.
"They felt they needed someone like me to fix the state," Christie said.
Mourdock, who thanked Christie for appearing on his behalf, said Wednesday marked a special day.
"Twenty nights from tonight we'll call Barack Obama a one-term president," Mourdock said.
He said he also foresees Republican candidate Mike Pence being elected governor of the state, himself elected to the U.S. Senate and other Republicans following suit.
"We're on the verge of making history. We're at a unique moment in history in that it's never been so easy to identify Republicans and Democrats. I've never seen a time when Democrats were more asleep," Mourdock said.
The event, which was open to the public, was hosted by Dean White, Dan and Dana Dumezich, Bob and Melody Grand, Chuck and Nicole Williams and Valparaiso Mayor Jon and Sharon Costas.
Hosts for the event paid $5,000 while co-hosts paid $2,500 and sponsors $1,000.