Skip to main content

Serious tea party-supported primary challengers to incumbent Republican Senators are a lot rarer this year than in 2010 -- pretty much the only one is in Indiana, where six-term Senator Dick Lugar is facing a spirited challenge from state Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

With the primary less than three weeks away, Mourdock has grabbed a narrow lead, 42-41, according to an internal poll from his campaign.

Well within the margin of error, but as the pollsters note, Mourdock clearly has "the momentum to win."

As with Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell two years ago, this would be good news for Democrats.

More, below.

Mourdock has been the tea party/right-wing favorite from the start, supported by Tea Party Express, FreedomWorks, the Club for Growth, the NRA, and lots of in-state tea parties.

Unlike Angle and O'Donnell, he has been elected statewide, and has not said anything so stupid to attract national media attention.

Lugar has been handicapped by a Santorum-like residency issue, a lackluster performance in the only debate last week, and several bipartisan votes (like for Supreme Court Justices Kagan and Sotomayor) that are considered heretical by the tea party base.

Even before the debate, Lugar was not polling well -- a Howey/DePauw poll in early April found him ahead of Mourdock by 42-35 among all voters, but tied at 38 among Republican voters (Indiana has an open primary).

42 is not a good number for a well-known incumbent a month out, nor is the tie among the most motivated and likely voters in a Republican primary.

There is more Mourdock momentum in the first quarter fundraising reports -- he outraised Lugar $875K to $820K. Lugar has about $2M more cash-on-hand, but Mourdock has outside third parties helping a lot with TV attack ads.

This is all great news for the Democratic candidate -- Rep. Joe Donnelly, IN-2. In the same Howey/DePauw poll, he would lose to Lugar by 50-29, but is tied with Mourdock at 38.

Donnelly is no Elizabeth Warren, but this is Indiana, which has not elected a liberal Democrat to the Senate in almost 40 years. And more Democrats will be vitally important in this election, otherwise we lose the Senate.

Should Mourdock win the primary, we will have an excellent chance of an unexpected pick-up of a longtime Republican Senate seat.

And we should therefore be prepared to give Donnelly some substantial credit-card love, which he will surely need given the millions that the wingnut groups will spend on Mourdock's behalf.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site