Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Poor Dick

It's Tuesday, which means there's a primary going on somewhere. I know, I know, the presidential nominees are in place (although Ron Paul hasn't quite given up), but the down ticket spots are still up for grabs in a lot of places.

One of the most interesting races is in Indiana, where Republican Richard Lugar is facing a stiff primary race for the senate seat he has held for 35 years.

As longtime Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar fights for his political life, he is warning Hoosiers that if his "tea party"-backed opponent wins this week’s primary, it would hand the longtime Republican-held seat to Democrats this fall -- and dampen GOP chances to gain majority control of the Senate.

In an email push, "Forewarn Family & Friends," before Tuesday’s election, the Lugar camp told supporters -- without naming his opponent, Richard Mourdock -- that a loss would sacrifice the seat. Republicans need four seats to win majority control of the Senate. ...

The winner of Tuesday’s open primary would likely face Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly this fall. The congressman’s moderate voting record could appeal to some Republicans and independents, experts say. A similar dynamic was at work in some races during the 2010 election, when tea party-backed candidates Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and Sharron Angle in Nevada lost, allowing Democratic victories.

Lugar's sin? He's a bit of a pragmatist. He's been known to work with those across the aisle on a few occasions to get things done. That's a real no-no as far as the Tea Party ideologues are concerned. His pragmatism and his longevity appear to be working against him this time around, which is (in some respects) a shame.

Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a warning to Republicans this week in an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times. He decried the "small tent" attitude of the current party and pointed to the potential consequences. While most the column is typical Ahnuld disingenuous claptrap, he did get one thing right:

Some Republicans today aren't even willing to have conversations about protecting the environment, investing in the infrastructure America needs or improving healthcare. By holding their fingers in their ears when those topics arise, these Republicans aren't just denying themselves a seat at the table; in a state such as California, they also deny a seat to every other Republican.

Indiana is not California, but neither was Delaware and Nevada. If Lugar loses, and he might, it's possible the 'moderate' Democrat will win. And that throws a monkey wrench in the whole GOP national strategy to hold the House and take over the Senate. Lugar is not a heavy weight when it comes to raising campaign funds (see the figures at Open Secrets) because he hasn't had to be, and I'm sure his adversary has been getting plenty of funding.

So, I've got the popcorn popper out and a fresh bag of popcorn. This primary is going to be interesting.

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Blogger Charles said...

I only wish that Lugar would pull a Jim Jeffords. It is very hard to get enthusiastic about Joe Bluedog Donnelly.

About the only positive I can think of is that at least he's not Evan Bayh.

10:45 AM  

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