• Richard Lugar,  Richard Mourdock

    IN-Sen Video: Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock Announces Race Against Sen Richard Lugar

    Republican Senator Richard Lugar is in trouble against Richard Mourdock. 

    Barring an unexpected decision to retire before November 2012, Lugar will face Indiana voters for the sixth time as the incumbent. He recently raised an estimated $400,000 from one event and has amassed a campaign warchest in excess of $2.3 million. Expect that total to swell in coming months.

    He’s also raised something else – the hackles of Indiana Tea Party members and a primary challenger, Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

    According to the conventional wisdom, Lugar’s seniority, establishment connections, well-funded campaign treasury, and easy access to sympathetic national media coverage should make him a shoo-in for a seventh term.

    Don’t count on it. Lugar made  a big mistake by claiming last year that the Tea Party needed to “get real.” He might as well have put on a dunce cap because such remarks often hint at the very attitudes of overweening pride of incumbency and blindness to genuine voter dissatisfaction that have driven many a respected incumbent into retirement – think Tom Daschle, Jim Wright, Tom Foley and Robert Bennett.

    Saying things like that is how you become the latest installment of that old, familiar Washington story – former senator.

    My bet is that Lugar retires within the next six months.

  • Richard Lugar,  Richard Mourdock

    IN-Sen: GOP Grassroots Dumps Sen Richard Lugar as Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock Launches Primary Challenge?

    Republican Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock Addresses Indianapolis Tea Party

    It certainly appears so.

    Indiana State TreasurerRichard Mourdock will launch his primary challenge to Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) on Tuesday with the support of a majority of both the state’s 92 Republican county chairmen and its state party executive committee, he told the Fix in a recent interview.

    “I feel bad that he’s going to be humiliated by this list,” Mourdock said.

    Mourdock added that he believes Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) and Rep. Mike Pence (R), the party’s two leading figures in the Hoosier State, are going to stay neutral in the primary — though Daniels, who was Lugar’s campaign manager three different times, has already committed to voting for the senator.

    That such a large contingent of the party establishment should come out against or withhold support from an incumbent senator is highly unusual and reflects the difficult path ahead for Lugar in advance of the May 8, 2012, primary fight. It also suggests there is a clear path to victory for Mourdock.

    Senator Richard Lugar’s time has passed and he is too moderate for the Indiana electorate.

    Time for Lugar to retire – and save face, otherwise he WILL be beaten in a GOP Primary election.

  • Mike Delph,  Richard Lugar,  Richard Mourdock

    Video: IN-Sen: Lugar Tells the Tea Party to “Get Real”

    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

    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.