Richard Lugar (R-IN)
That has all changed. Recent revelations and machinations have put his future in the Senate in jeopardy. In the last few weeks, the man who has spent almost his entire life in public service to the citizens of Indiana has seen himself be characterized as a Washington insider and out-of-touch liberal who needs to be retired. The change has been swift, and it remains to be seen how the final chapter will be written.
The true sad thing is that if Lugar loses in a month to Richard Mourdock will be that he lost to Richard Mourdock, a man that Republicans don't really even seem to be enthusiastic for despite the fact that he's not Richard Lugar.
Mourdock has the icon on the ropes, but he has yet to close the deal. He hasn't provided anyone a reason why he would be a better Senator than Lugar. If you go by his past record, it just isn't that exciting.
There are some things in his record that Lugar can't use. For example, Lugar can't use Mourdock's reckless use of state funds to sue the federal government over the Chrysler bailout. Mourdock spent millions trying to bankrupt Chrysler and put Indiana's pension holders in financial ruin. Lugar can't use that because he is already "Obama's favorite Republican" to many Tea Party voters.
While presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Donnelly is out putting forward policy, Lugar and Mourdock are racing to the bottom to see who can out mudsling the other. The Super PACs are busy besmirching the other candidate or attacking each other, but, in the end, there can just be one Republican nominee.
Richard Lugar still has time to close the deal. He has something Mourdock doesn't. Lugar has a history of integrity with Hoosiers. He has name recognition, and he can play up the experience factor. Mourdock can't compete with that. He's an 11-time candidate that apparently keeps looking for the next opportunity to move up. Lugar has to slap back this idea that he's not a Hoosier. He has to remind people of his history of serving Hoosiers, and he has to find a way to explain his actions in respect to his residency issues. I think that if Lugar looks Hoosiers in the eye and tells them his story, they will soon forget about Mourdock.
In these final four weeks, Lugar needs to reconnect with Hoosiers, and Mourdock needs to provide some sort of reason why he will be the best choice for Indiana. Here we go.