Political analyst and Democratic pollster Doug Schoen tells Newsmax that Tuesday’s defeat of six-term Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar in his party’s own primary will reverberate throughout the United States.
“I think it was a message to Republicans everywhere not to stray too far from party orthodoxy,” declares Schoen in an exclusive interview as the polls closed in The Hoosier State.
Lugar was defeated by conservative Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who delivered a political knockout punch in what was Lugar’s first serious challenge in decades.
“This shows the power of the Republican right in general and the tea party in particular, as well as interest groups like Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity,” explained Schoen. “Those who have said that the influence of these groups have weakened over the Republican Party are sadly mistaken.”
Lugar’s vulnerability stemmed not only on his moderate positions regarding issues such as his support for the bank bailout in 2008, but also his failure to maintain a residence in his home state. Lugar lives in the toney Washington, D.C. suburb of McLean, Va. and he was subsequently declared ineligible to vote in his own re-election bid.
“I’d say when there are questions about your residency, questions about ideology and questions about your voting record in a Republican Party that is overwhelmingly conservative it’s difficult — if not impossible — to get re-elected,” said Schoen.
According to Schoen, author of the new book, “Hopelessly Divided: The New Crisis in American Politics and What it Means for 2012 and Beyond,” Lugar is unlikely to try to hold onto his seat with a third-party run.
“I am big fan of Lugar’s. I like Dick Lugar,” added Schoen. “I think he is an American hero and an American patriot. But my sense is losing a Republican primary decisively makes it very difficult for him after 36 years.”
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