Six-term Republican senator from Indiana Richard Lugar was defeated by Tea Party-backed primary challenger Richard E. Mourdock on Tuesday, marking yet another loss for moderates within the Republican party.
Mourdock, the state’s treasurer, had questioned Lugar’s conservative credentials and accused Lugar of losing touch with Indiana and its voters. Mourdock will now face Joe Donnelly, a Democratic member of the House, in November.
Lugar was one of the longest-serving members of the Senate. Lugar, 80, leaves after three decades of service and as one of the Senate’s leading foreign policy experts. If they still exist in the Republican party, Lugar was considered a moderate.
But that image of Lugar as a moderate is ultimately what doomed him this time around. His challenger Mourdock repeatedly accused Lugar of not being conservative enough for Indiana. He pointed to Mr. Lugar’s votes to confirm President Obama’s Supreme Court nominees, his support for the DREAM Act, and his backing of bank bailouts during the economic crisis.
The Indiana Democratic Party released a statement Tuesday evening thanking Lugar for his service and criticizing Mourdock as an “extremist” who is “out of touch with Hoosiers.”
“Like all Hoosiers, we owe Senator Lugar a debt of gratitude for his long and storied career,” said Dan Parker, the Democratic Party chairman. “Hoosiers deserve real leadership that will reach across the aisle in Richard Lugar’s successor, not Richard Mourdock’s Tea Party extremism.”
If Lugar’s loss means anything, it’s that our country isn’t moving toward common political ground any time soon.
Photo from scriptingnews via flickr.