Richard “Dick” Lugar, a six term incumbent and the longest serving Republican in the Senate, was defeated yesterday by the Tea Party backed Richard Mourdock in the Indiana Republican primary. This happened despite claims on both sides of the aisle that the Tea Party is no longer influential. Mourdock, who was out-spent roughly 3 to 1 by the establishment’s preferred candidate, was led by a grassroots effort to replace the incumbent, with a more conservative alternative.
Mourdock’s campaign may have had $4.7M less than that of Lugar’s, but his super PAC had a $1.2M advantage. One advertisement by Mourdock’s super PAC labeled Lugar: “President Obama’s favorite Republican”, showing clips of Obama saying, “I’ve worked with Republican Senator Dick Lugar to pass a law” and “What I did was reach out to Senator Dick Lugar.”
Mourdock has spent 30 years in the private sector and his political career has included three victories, with one of them being a statewide race. He’s also been a featured speaker at several large tea party engagements.
Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and John McCain (R-AR) have avoided similar situations by moving more ideologically to the right prior to their respective primary elections.
Hopefully this is a sign of what’s to come in the November elections across the country. Much like the Tea Party sweep of ’10, It appears voters are fed up with Democrat pandering, career politicians. I guess this also means we get a week off from the media’s claims that the Tea Party is “dead”. That’s OK, that will give them more time to find ways to distract the public from the violent behavior of the Occupy movement.