"You can go back to the last cycle [in 2010] in Nevada, Colorado, and Delaware, in the Republican primaries where we elected the least-electable Republican. You've got a couple this time in Missouri and Indiana" where the GOP nominee snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory, says former Rep. Tom Davis (R) of Virginia, who previously served as chairman of the party’s group devoted to electing Republicans to the House. "This would be five Senate seats basically we've blown by just nominating the least-electable candidates."
"Candidates matter," says Mr. Davis, and the Republican Party does not "have any enforcement mechanism to bring your strongest candidates to bear."
There is no question that Mr. Mourdock in Indiana and Mr. Akin in Missouri have hurt the GOP this cycle. What's up for debate is whether the party's conservative base bears much responsibility for their political meltdowns.
One week before Election Day, Mr. Donnelly, the Democrat, cut a simple ad against Mourdock. It’s called “Opinion,” but it could also be called “Richard’s Greatest Hits,” because it recounts all of Mourdock's controversial statements over the course of the campaign.
“Not only has Richard Mourdock said he wants to ‘inflict’ his opinions on us,” said Elizabeth Shappell, Donnelly’s communications director, in a statement. “He has questioned the constitutionality of Social Security and Medicare, he said pregnancies resulting from rape are something God intended, and claimed he didn’t take a pledge to support every job in Indiana.”