Troubling signs for 6-term Republican senator
From the Associated Press:
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar’s allies have largely disappeared from the television airwaves just days before Tuesday’s primary, a sign that even friends of the six-term Republican think he’s in trouble and could lose to tea party-backed challenger Richard Mourdock.
Mourdock’s backers, meanwhile, have stepped up their criticism, casting Lugar, 80, as too moderate for the Republican-leaning state and out of touch after 36 years in Washington. Total ad spending intended to benefit Mourdock was pushing toward $2.3 million and could top that in the final week.
“What’s happened to Dick Lugar?” says the narrator of the latest ad by the Club for Growth. “He was a respected statesman, a leader. Then he became part of the problem, joining the liberals in voting for record debt, bailouts and tax hikes.” The conservative national group has spent $1.4 million while Mourdock has spent $790,000.
Lugar, who was elected in 1976 and has forged a Senate career dominated by foreign policy, is one of the most vulnerable incumbents at a time of strong anti-establishment sentiment in some parts of the country. Questions about his residency and time spent in the state have dogged him throughout the primary. Even the endorsement of popular Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels may not spare him from defeat by Mourdock, the state treasurer.
Public polling shows a competitive race, but internal surveys taken by Republicans indicate Mourdock may have a slight edge.