Sen. Dick Lugar (R., Ind.) is already facing a likely 2012 primary challenger in Richard Mourdock, the state treasurer. But Lugar, unlike other Senate GOP veterans, is in no mood to make an appeal to the Tea Party movement. Instead, in a recent interview with an Indiana TV station, Lugar urged the Tea Party to “get real” when it comes to Beltway politics.
As the Washington Post notes, Lugar, who has amassed a $2.5 million war chest, is “effectively daring someone to beat him under the belief that the same coalition that has re-elected him time and time again will do so again in 2012.”
The Tea Party Express, a leading Tea Party organization, is taking the dare. In an e-mail to its supporters on Tuesday, the group named Lugar one of its top targets. The message, entitled “Time to Punish Dick Lugar,” calls the senior senator the “epitome of what is wrong in Washington.”
Sal Russo, the chief strategist for the Express, tells National Review Online that activists are “disappointed” by Lugar’s “hostile” attitude. “It’s not helpful for him, it’s not helpful for the movement,” he says.