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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

No more Mr. Nice Guy

Every game has a risk:

Democratic Rep. Brad Ellsworth has portrayed himself as a friendly moderate who would work with those on both sides of the aisle in the U.S. Senate. But he's trailing in polls and fundraising, which has forced the cornered underdog to bare his teeth, though Republicans don't seem intimidated.

Ellsworth has attacked former GOP Sen. Dan Coats on everything from his voting record and work as a lobbyist to where he wants to retire and his football allegiance.

[. . .]

But the Democrat's arguments don't appear to be resonating with voters, leaving Ellsworth with a double-digit disadvantage in polls and more than $2 million behind in fundraising. Although candidates often go on the attack when behind, doing so could tarnish Ellsworth's image as Mr. Nice Guy.

“It can be awkward,” said James McCann, a Purdue University political science professor. “There's some potential for mixed messages there.”

I don't think it's fair to single out Ellsworth, though. Maybe I'm just getting jaded and cynical, but the ads this year seem even nastier than usual. All of the candidates' reputations are going to suffer. "Never mind all those mean, rotten things we all said about each other -- now you can trust us to represent you honorably!"