Longtime Indiana Senator Dick Lugar, who has served six terms in Washington D.C. for the Midwestern state, is projected to lose the Republican nomination to rival Richard Mourdock.
In fact, NBC News has already declared Mourdock the winner in the Indiana Senate primary, despite the fact that the votes have not all been counted yet.
Mourdock is widely supported by GOP groups like the Tea Party and the National Rifle Association, despite thee fact that Lugar has been in the Senate since 1976.
Given the country’s distaste with most elected officials in Washington, it is not surprising that Lugar faces the toughest fight of his almost four-decade long career. South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham commented that:
“It says if you’re an incumbent, you better not lose touch with home.”
In recent months, Lugar has been accused of living more in northern Virginia than Indiana, an accusation that is sure to reflect Indiana residents’ belief that perhaps Lugar has lost touch with the state.
When asked if he would consider running as an independent on the ballot, should he lose the GOP nomination, Dick Lugar responded by saying, “This is it.”
The hotly contested race between the incumbent and his rival, Mourdock, the state treasurer, plays out in a conservative state where some critics have cast Lugar as too moderate for the conservative Republicans in Indiana, and he also received criticism for working with Democrats on issues like nuclear nonproliferation, underscoring deep polarization in the country, and also a split between the establishment wing and the insurgent tea party.
Even on Capitol Hill, fellow senators braced for a likely incumbent loss. In looking toward the November election Sen. John Cornyn, Texas, the National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman, stated that:
“…it will probably make it more of a contest if Sen. Lugar is not the nominee, but I’m confident we’ll hold the seat.”
While Richard Mourdock currently has 61% of the vote, it is possible that Dick Lugar could still come out ahead in the race for the GOP Indiana Senate nomination.
Check out more information about Senator Dick Lugar and the Tea Party, one of Richard Mourdock’s backers, here: