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Lugar Out in Indiana: What Next?

by John on 05/08/2012

So, the Tea Party candidate Richard Mourdock knocks out Senator Dick Lugar in the Indiana Primary.  It’s historic.

Can Mourdock win the election, though?  The Democrats seem ready to pounce on the seat.

But it’s still too early.

Could Lugar try a Murkowski?  Lugar said he’s done, but is he?  Some polls show him beating Democratic Congressman Joe Donnelly by 21 points.  Give Lugar a few days.  He may reconsider a Lisa Murkowski write-in campaign.

Does this mean the Democrats can win a Senate seat in red Indiana?  A Honey-DePauw Poll says Donnelly doesn’t need a lot of Republicans to pull off an upset.

But what should be troubling for Mourdock in victory is a fractured Republican Party. Among Republicans supporting Lugar, 12% had a favorable opinion of Mourdock and 57% had a negative opinion. Yang observed, “If Joe Donnelly can get 15% of the Republican vote, split the independents, that’s how Frank O’Bannon defeated Stephen Goldsmith.”

Lastly, don’t count out the Tea Party in a place like Indiana.  Nearby Kentucky has Tea Party favorite Rand Paul which is a better analogy than Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell.  Will Mourdock want the Palin-Bachmann tag team for the general election?  The question remains: is 2010 or do Indiana moderates lean less to the far right?  Donnelly will use Mourdock’s resistance to the auto bailout which saved a ton of jobs in the Hoosier state.

My guess: watch the economy in the fall and the outside money.   Wow, I went out on the limb.

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