Facing a certain primary challenge, you would think that Indiana Senator richard Lugar would be more conciliatory?
Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) chided Tea Party activists in his state, telling them to “get real” about their opposition to the New START treaty.
Lugar, who voted for the treaty’s ratification late last year, dismissed the Tea Party’s criticism of his vote. He’s expected to face a primary challenge from the conservative, activist movement.
Lugar has been a big-spending moderate Republican for decades – not exactly a Tea Party favorite. Democrat Senator Evan Byah bailed out of re-election in 2010 because of the changing political climate (more red) in Indiana and my bet is that Lugar won’t be around for the general election in 2012.
Lugar has repeatedly irritated the tea party in recent months. He was one of just five Republicans to support Elena Kagan’s nomination for Supreme Court, he spearheaded a compromise on the new START nuclear arms treaty during the lame duck session, he opposed a ban on earmarks and he called for a renewal of the assault weapons ban after the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) last month.
But it hasn’t been just his votes. Lugar’s words have done little to quell the brewing opposition. During a breakfast with reporters last month, Lugar appeared to dismiss tea partiers as people who are angry because they or someone they loved has lost their job, and he said the movement lacked clear goals, relying instead on “large cliches”.
Who will challenge Lugar?
Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock will announce a primary challenge to Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) on Feb. 22, according to an e-mail from a Mourdock supporter.
Ted Ogle, the 6th district chairman for the Indiana Republican Party and Bartholomew County Republican Party chairman, said in an e-mail to supporters that he spoke with Mourdock on Friday morning and learned of the state treasurer’s plans. He said he will be endorsing Mourdock.
“He will be announcing Feb. 22 his run for US Senate in a primary against Senator Lugar,” Ogle said. “With respect to Senator Lugar, Richard is my friend. For what it’s worth I will be announcing my support that same day.”
State Sen. Mike Delph has also been mentioned as a potential Lugar primary opponent.