Indiana’s popular state treasurer faces high hurdles in his expected challenge to incumbent Republican Sen. Richard Lugar, the National Journal reports
. For starters, Richard Mourdock, a conservative with tea party backing, has to beat the moderate Lugar in an open GOP primary that allows Democrats to cross over and vote.
Mourdock, 59, also wants help from another Washington heavyweight, Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, despite DeMint’s promise to not target GOP incumbents in 2012 using his Senate Conservatives Fund.
To those difficulties, add Lugar’s own popularity: The longest-serving senator in Indiana history won re-election in 2006 with 87 percent of the vote.
“The Lugar name is the gold standard in Indiana,” said political newsletter publisher Ed Feigenbaum. “Even tea party types . . . respect him immensely.”
But Mourdoch has held his own. He was the state’s top vote-getter last November, thanks in part to a much-publicized effort to block the federal government’s bailout of automaker Chrysler. News reports say he will announce his candidacy on Feb. 22.
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