Sen. Richard Lugar is a six-term incumbent, highly regarded for his work on national security issues. But tea party-backed challenger Richard Mourdock says Lugar has lost touch with his Indiana constituents. In the run-up to Tuesday's GOP primary, Mourdock leads in the polls.
The six-term Republican from Indiana – Eagle Scout, Rhodes scholar, US Navy veteran, former mayor of Indianapolis – also seems to represent the values all Hoosiers are proud of. He’s conservative without making a fetish of it, willing to work with Democrats when necessary, successfully tackling some of the toughest issues – especially reductions in the world’s arsenal of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.
But my, how things have changed, and Senator Lugar now finds himself in the political fight of his life.
Lugar has handily won every election since he ousted incumbent Democrat Vance Hartke in 1976. Last time around, Democrats didn’t even challenge his reelection (which he won with 87 percent of the vote).
What’s happened in the intervening years? The tea party movement. And like other Republicans tarred with the brush of perceived moderation, Lugar – an energetic 80 year-old – could find himself involuntarily retired this Tuesday when Indiana holds it primary election.
Lugar’s GOP primary opponent is state treasurer Richard Mourdock.