Ind. Dems Rooting for Lugar to Lose Primary

Indiana Democrats are doing their best to ensure that Sen. Dick Lugar (R, Ind.) loses his primary challenge, suggesting that they hope the Indiana senate race will replicate Delaware’s in the last cycle.

“Veteran statesman Dick Lugar, facing a challenge from Tea Party candidate Richard Mourdock, is doing everything he can to shed his reputation for tempered, rational decision-making,” wrote the Indiana Democrat party in a press release earlier this week.  “Instead, he’s embracing the right-wing rhetoric that everything President Obama does is bad, and there’s no room for moderates at the table.”

In addition to highlighting Lugar’s rightward shift, the Indiana Democrats made sure to emphasize just how moderate Lugar has been in the past.

“You’ve always been willing to reach across the aisle, listen to the other side and come up with solutions that you believe reflect our Hoosier values, not the latest GOP talking points,” wrote state Democrats. “In the past, Lugar has offered support for pro-choice Supreme Court justices, stem cell research and the New START agreement. He’s opposed to a reckless House Republican proposal to cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood and public broadcasting.”

In 2006, when Lugar was last up for reelection, the Democrats didn’t even bother to run a candidate, despite the fact that the Democrats made impressive national gains that year.

But so far, Lugar’s got just one challenger: state treasurer Richard Mourdock, who won more votes than any other Indiana candidate in the 2010 election. And while Mourdock has ideological differences with Lugar, he’s also been careful to stress that part of the opposition to Lugar is his failure to spend much time in Indiana in recent years, putting him out of touch with the local communities.

If he wins the primary, Mourdock may not be as formidable a candidate as Lugar, but there’s nothing yet that suggests he’s so controversial that general voters would be turned off.

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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