NBC Projects Lugar Loses in Indiana

NBC News Reporting: 

NBC News has declared Richard Mourdock as the projected winner in the Indiana Senate primary. Mourdock defeated Republican foreign policy elder statesman Sen. Richard Lugar.

Lugar, 80, lost to state treasurer Mourdock, who was backed by conservatives ranging from the National Rifle Association to local Tea Party activists to the Washington-based fiscal conservative group the Club for Growth.

Looking toward the November election, National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said two weeks ago that “it will probably make it more of a contest if Sen. Lugar is not the nominee, but I’m confident we’ll hold the seat.”

The Democratic candidate in November will be Rep. Joe Donnelly. Although both Democratic and Republican strategists see Donnelly as having a better chance to beat Mourdock than he would have had against Lugar, it remains to be seen whether Donnelly can raise enough money to make it a truly competitive race – given that Democratic donors must also fund much more competitive Senate contests in Ohio, Montana, Missouri, Wisconsin, Virginia and New Mexico.

Lugar, along with Utah’s Orrin Hatch, is the longest serving Republican in the Senate. But like GOP senators Lisa Murkowski in Alaska, Bob Bennett in Utah, and Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania in 2010, Lugar found himself challenged by those in his party who decided he was not conservative enough on federal spending.

And Republican insiders…(read more)

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