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  Odds Are Against Lugar in Bid for Seventh Term
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ContributorCOSDem 
Last EditedCOSDem  Apr 04, 2011 04:37pm
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CategoryAnalysis
News DateTuesday, April 5, 2011 12:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionLast cycle, when I interviewed then-candidate Coats, a mainstream conservative never known as an ideologue or one of the Senate’s more intense partisans, I was surprised how readily and heartily he embraced the tea party movement.

Lugar, in contrast, has been dismissive of the tea party, refusing to back off of his longtime agenda or pander to conservatives with his votes or his rhetoric.

Lugar’s stubbornness — or dedication to principle, if you prefer — has earned him a formidable primary opponent and the opposition of three-quarters of GOP county chairmen, who already are backing state Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

Mourdock, who will almost certainly be Lugar’s main primary opponent, is wooing conservatives, including tea party activists, who aren’t likely to make the same mistake that they did in 2010, when multiple tea party primary candidates divided the conservative vote and handed Coats the nomination.

But the state treasurer’s profile isn’t that of a pure outsider. Not only does he begin with the support of dozens of GOP county leaders, but he has been running for office and serving in government for years.

Mourdock ran for Congress in 1990 and 1992 before winning election to the Vanderburgh County Commission in the mid-1990s. He served there until 2002. Four years later, he was elected state treasurer, and last year he was re-elected to that office.

Still, his campaign website bio clearly portrays him in an ideological light: “A solid conservative, Richard is a popular speaker at Republican events and Tea Party rallies alike. Richard’s conservative message of constitutionally limited government was heard by over one million people during the 9-12 March on Washington in 2009.”
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