NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WHAS11) -- It's the election that could decide which party controls the U.S. Senate; Indiana's very heated senate race between Democrat Joe Donnelly and Republican Richard Mourdock.
The front runners and Libertarian Andrew Horning meet in New Albany for their last debate of the campaign.
Opposing polls show different candidates leading in this pivotal race. So the stakes are very high Tuesday night in new Albany.
“We really do need to shake this up my fellow Hoosiers...” Horning said.
Eight days after their first debate, Indiana's Senate candidates get one more crack at each other at IU Southeast.
To set the stage, Joe Donnelly's campaign just released a new internal poll showing the Democrat leading Republican Richard Mourdock by two points -- a statistical tie. Libertarian Andrew Horning gets 8 percent in the poll.
Last week, a Republican oriented polling firm showed Mourdock with a five point lead over Donnelly, just outside the margin of error.
The polls and the intense campaign spending are clear indications that this race is neck and neck.
The Senate seat has been Republican since Richard Lugar won it in 1976, and it appears the only way Republicans have a chance at taking over the Senate is if this seat stays Republican.
“The difference of having Republicans run the Senate is going to be the difference whether we get this economy growing or not,” Republican Richard Mourdock, U.S. Senate candidate, said.
That's precisely the message in an ad just released with GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Barack Obama won Indiana in 2008, but Romney leads here by double digits.
Donnelly said he would be happy if Indiana voters split their ballots.
“That would be a situation that I would certainly be happy about. Because what we want is for voters to take a look and see who makes the most sense and I think in the Senate race, clearly, I have been working across party lines for years and years to try and make our country stronger” U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, (D) U.S. Senate candidate, said.
Indiana Democratic insiders tell me Donnelly's aim on Tuesday night is to continue to draw a clear distinction between what Democrats see as Donnelly's Hoosier common sense and Mourdock's Tea Party partisanship.
Mourdock's challenge at Tuesday's debate and in the campaign's final two weeks is to reconcile the conservative positions that helped him unseat Richard Lugar in the GOP primary with the centrist voters who supported Lugar in the past.
“Certainly Mr. Lugar got a lot of carryover votes but the primary was six months ago and this is a different race,” Richard Mourdock, (R) U.S. Senate candidate, said.