The Primary Education of Indiana’s Dick Lugar

July 13, 2011

By Shira Toeplitz, Roll Call

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — A handful of horses occupied the barn that was the setting Friday evening for Sen.Dick Lugar’s fundraiser here, but there might as well have been an elephant in the room.

After the Hoosier State’s senior Senator delivered a history lecture to several dozen supporters about the past nine months on Capitol Hill, he mentioned his re-election campaign — briefly.

“We started [in October] to organize in the counties of our state, to raise money and really try to think through with other Senators [the] recent campaigns they have had and how they progressed,” the Republican said. “And it’s been partly an education.”

After easily winning six terms in the Senate, Lugar’s political future is in peril. Last year, tea-party-backed challengers defeated Senators and candidates more conservative than Lugar. This year, national conservative groups have already focused on the Senator with a reputation for working across the aisle.

The good news for Lugar? Those same groups do not see his primary opponent, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, as their silver-bullet challenger, in no small part because of his feeble fundraising.

Nonetheless, at the podium Friday evening, host Jim Buechler began his introduction of Lugar with the words, “We hope and pray.” Then he paused before continuing: “I’m confident he will be representing Indiana in the Senate for the next six years.”

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