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Mourdock says he hasn't decided on backing McConnell as GOP leader

The morning after crushing Sen. Dick Lugar in a Republican primary, Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock said he hasn't decided whether to support Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). 

Mourdock denied reports he's said he wouldn't support the leader. 

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"No, I've never said that," said Mourdock on MSNBC's "Daily Rundown." "What I've said is, if we get a few more conservatives in the United States Senate, we can certainly change the leadership, but not necessarily the people."

The state treasurer told MSNBC that he's never spoken with McConnell and hasn't made a decision regarding his support.

"I've never made any statement, in fact I've never had the occasion to talk to Mr. McConnell. We've not made any decision there whatsoever," he said. 


Mourdock, who won in part on the strength of the Tea Party, also predicted there won't be much compromise in the next Senate. 

"I recognize that this is one of those times where there is great polarization between the two parties, and frankly the ideas for which the parties are working are really at opposite ends of the spectrum — I don't think there's going to be a lot of successful compromise," Mourdock said on CNN's "Starting Point" Wednesday. 

Lugar, a six-term incumbent, was seen as someone willing to compromise with Democrats. He voted for both of President Obama's Supreme Court candidates and was instrumental in moving a strategic arms deal with Russia through the Senate last year. 

Mourdock and other opponents of Lugar used his relationship with Obama against him in the campaign. 

Democrats hope Mourdock's win in the primary is a blessing. They think the conservative is an easier target for their candidate in a general election, though Republicans are confident Indiana voters turned off by Obama will vote for a GOP ticket. 

Mourdock said he hopes to build a conservative majority in the Senate and convince Democrats to join Republicans in reducing the size of government and lowering taxes.

"You never compromise on principles — if people on the far left have a principle they want to stand by, they should never compromise. Those of us on the right should not either," he said. 

On CNN, Mourdock attributed his victory to Lugar's collegiality and Congress's unpopularity. 

"Mr. Lugar was seen as a very collegial person and yet there was that very frustration. I'm certain, part of the reason we won yesterday was the very fact … that Congress is seen as so unpopular, because it is so ineffective," he said.

He also credited his primary win to his opponent's distance from state politics and lack of time spent in the Hoosier State.

"All politics are local," Mourdock said. "People in Indiana want to know who's representing them, they want to be able to talk to them, and unfortunately I think that was the biggest liability Mr. Lugar carried into this race."

Lugar has lived in Washington, D.C.’s suburbs for decades, a fact he found difficult to defend during the primary fight. 

Many also blamed Lugar's loss on the involvement of and massive spending by outside groups, including the fiscally conservative Club for Growth, the National Rifle Association and the Tea Party-affiliated FreedomWorks. Together, they spent more than $3 million against Lugar, double the amount Mourdock raised and spent on the race.

Mourdock said spending by the groups in the Indiana race was a "legitimate part of the process."

"There's no question that with the independent expenditure campaigns that were coming in on both sides, it got to be a very expensive race for both of us and for those independent expenditure PACs, but those PACs that were coming in on our behalf, represented a special interest, if you will — they're called conservatives," he said.

The Club for Growth, which backed Mourdock, said its total independent expenditures accounted for 40 percent of all independent expenditures in the Indiana race in the 30 days before the election, reported CNN.

Mourdock told CNN that of the U.S. senators currently serving, he would most like to model himself after Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).

Republicans moved quickly to back Mourdock in the general election following his declared win, including DeMint, whose Senate Conservatives Fund sent out an email Tuesday night asking his supporters to donate to the GOP Senate hopeful.

"I am a conservative. I believe that what we have to have for economic recovery is more rolled-back government, scaled-back," Mourdock said.

—This story was posted at 9:29 a.m. and updated at 10:36 a.m.