Richard Mourdock defeats Dick Lugar
Conservative and Tea Party groups — not to mention, taxpayers — scored a big victory last night in Indiana as Sen. Dick Lugar, who has served in Washington for 35 years, was knocked off in the Republican primary last night by State Treasurer Richard Mourdock.
Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock defeated Sen. Dick Lugar in Tuesday’s Republican primary in Indiana, ending the career of the longest-serving Republican senator and putting the seat in play for Democrats in the fall.
NBC News projected Moudock’s victory about 20 minutes after the polls closed. He will face Rep. Joe Donnelly, a centrist Democrat, in the general election.
You can view the full results here.
Lugar ran a terrible campaign. While Mourdock was hammering him for being out of touch on fiscal issues, Lugar was talking about foreign policy and other issues that Indiana voters didn’t seem to care about. Of course, Lugar’s record on fiscal issues has been terrible, so he was in a “lose-lose” situation there. Then there was the residency issue and thousands of dollars in hotel bills that Lugar was forced to pay back to taxpayers.
While the victory is certainly sweet for Mourdock, the work isn’t nearly over. Democrats are already pouring it on, even before he walked away with the win over Lugar:
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) is already on the attack against Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R), a Tea Party favorite who is expected to beat six-term Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) in Tuesday’s primary.
“By defeating Dick Lugar and nominating Richard Mourdock, the Tea Party is poised to hand another strong pick-up opportunity for Democrats,” DSCC spokesman Matt Canter said in an email sent Tuesday afternoon.
Canter goes on to attack Mourdock for an alleged pay-to-play scandal and for backing a lawsuit against Chrysler’s government-backed bankruptcy plan, accusing him of spending $2 million of taxpayer money on the lawsuit that could have cost Indiana more than 100,000 jobs, in their estimate. The attack has been one Democrats had not yet made publicly because they didn’t want to help Lugar, whom most see as a much tougher general-election candidate than Mourdock.
As Ron Davis wrote yesterday, Mourdock is likely the favorite going in since history is on Republicans’ side in Indiana. And as much as Democrats are going to try to make Mourdock out to be Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell, that’s just not the case.
The general election is certainly one to pay attention to this fall, but I have a hard time believing that Donnelly will knock him off in a largely reliable Republican state, one that most aren’t even labeling as a “battleground.”
Now that the Tea Party movement and its affiliated groups have some momentum, the attention turns to Utah where Dan Liljenquist hopes to have success against Sen. Orrin Hatch in next month’s primary.