Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Mourdock Decides to Run for Senate
According to the Indianapolis Star, Richard Mourdock is likely running for Senate against Richard Lugar. He is the first candidate to enter the field that will likely grow more candidates that think they can knock off the longest-serving U.S. Senator in Indiana history.
Mourdock has worked very hard to build Tea Party credentials and cultivate a relationship with that segment of the conservative movement. He's appeared with the anti-immigration crowd and Arizona's Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (video below). He also headlined a fundraiser with Glenn Beck in September. You knew he might be up to something, perhaps, even though he was running for re-election as Treasurer.
Mourdock's decision to run might not be that stupid. While I still give him a small chance of beating Lugar, in a head-to-head race, Mourdock might pull enough of the conservative crowd to knock off the longtime Senator if he is the only competitor in the race. The problem is, I think the crowd is going to grow. There are several other folks out there that might give it a go. Chief among them is State Senator Mike Delph, who has spent most of the last few months placating Tea Party interests on his own.
Delph and Mourdock will split the conservative vote, so if Mourdock is to win, he must make sure that he keeps Delph out of the race. You would figure that he would get some sort of jump on Delph.
Lugar still will be extremely formidable. He may be approaching 80 here in a couple of years, but I only hope to be in as good of health as he is when I'm approaching that age. He's also been making lots of campaign cash in anticipation of a primary fight.
While he has made a career as a moderate-sounding statesman, Richard Lugar is a Republican and votes the party line more often than not. Like Evan Bayh was for the left and far left, Lugar is a lightning rod for the right and far right of his party. His record plays well in the General Election, but it won't in the highly-charged Primary.
As the Hill points out, this certainly puts Mike Pence and Mitch Daniels in a very awkward spot. Defending Lugar could make them a target for the Tea Party but backing Mourdock or someone else would be like turning their backs on one of their wise old mentors.
I guess that assures us that 2012 will be one interesting year as Republicans try to fight amongst themselves for control. It might be the perfect time for a Democrat to slip right by, so you wonder who might give it a go then as well.