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Signs of desperation in Lugar campaign (Update – Desperate campaign, desperate ads)

Signs of desperation in Lugar campaign (Update – Desperate campaign, desperate ads)

You can sense the momentum shifting under Richard Lugar’s feet in the challenge by Richard Mourdock.  How desperate has the Lugar campaign become? So desperate that one of Lugar’s top campaign aides has concocted the claim that Mourdock’s necktie resembles a Confederate flag and made an issue of Mourdock allegedly dying his hair.

There are several reasons for Lugar’s desperation:

First, late March polling shows a dead heat among Republicans with Lugar pulling out a single digit lead with help of non-Republicans in the open Indiana primary.  With much lower name recognition, Mourdock has huge upside potential as the electorate focuses.

Second, Mourdock raised more money in the 1st Q of 2012, although Lugar still has a lot more money in the bank.  Combined with outside groups such as the NRA, Club for Growth and Freedomworks, Mourdock will be able to counter Lugar’s anticipated ad-krieg.

Third, a SuperPAC devoted to protecting Republican establishment incumbents just decided to spend $600,000 attacking Mourdock — and that’s just in Indianapolis.  Lugar must have internal polling showing him in trouble for his SuperPAC to dump that much money just in one city.

Fourth, Mourdock has a better ground game, with 3000 volunteers signed up versus 800 for Lugar.  With the presidential primary all but meaningless, the candidate with the more motivated base will do better, and that candidate is Mourdock:

Craig Dunn, the Republican chairman in Howard County, said he was stunned last year when he asked the 15 members of his local steering committee how many would vote for Mr. Lugar. “Not a hand went up,” said Mr. Dunn, who has supported Mr. Mourdock, as did, his campaign said, nearly three-quarters of the party’s county chairmen back when he announced plans to run more than a year ago. (Mr. Lugar’s supporters say those numbers have since shifted and shrunk.) “This never would have happened to Dick Lugar in his prime,” Mr. Dunn said.

Fifth, yesterday, National Review endorsed Mourdock, making it hard for Lugar to claim Mourdock is a fringe candidate.

Sixth, Democrat Joe Donelly is a weak candidate, with terrible fundraising numbers.  This diminishes Lugar’s scare tactic that the seat will be lost if Lugar is not the nominee.

So how desperate is Lugar’s campaign?  A Lugar spokesman a few days ago claimed that Mourdock’s necktie resembled a Confederate flag:

A top aide to Sen. Dick Lugar is charging that a necktie GOP rival Richard Mourdock frequently sports on the campaign trail carries Confederate symbolism.

In an email to supporters pushing back against an anti-Lugar television advertisement by the National Rifle Association, Lugar political director David Willkie points out that the elk shown in the spot weren’t found in the Hoosier State and goes on to take issue with Mourdock’s neckwear.

“That’s not an Indiana elk… (if so, it would be one of the first wild ones since the Civil War when guys sported Confederate neckties like Richard Mourdock’s),” wrote Willkie….

During an interview here, Mourdock, the state treasurer running in the May primary, denied the tie in question (pictured above) includes any Confederate messaging or advocacy and dismissed the allegation as increasing signs of desperation from the Lugar camp.

“I do not own a Confederate necktie.  I own two ties that are red with a blue stripe with white stars.  I bought them at the Republican state convention,” he said.  “I don’t even know how to respond.  I am stunned.  If you’re running for class president you do something like that.  I don’t have anything that has a Confederate symbol on it, anything like that. That’s lunacy.”

Yes, it is lunacy.  But Lugar’s spokesman didn’t stop there, he mocked Mourdock’s hair color:

In his email responding to a follow-up about the tie,  Willkie also lobbed another ostensibly petty charge.

“PS, We also hear that Mourdock dyes his hair,” Willkie wrote in an email.  “But you be the judge. . . lol.”

Really mature.

It’s time for Lugar to go.  You can support Mourdock here.

Update:  Not suprisingly, the SuperPAC backing Lugar is running misleading ads:

The attacks themselves aren’t particularly strong. Mourdock has problems “showing up for work,” the ad claims: “Mourdock skipped 66 percent of his official board meetings.” Yes, Mourdock usually doesn’t attend the state Board of Finance meetings personally, but neither does ex-officio member Governor Mitch Daniels. “Since 2007, the State Treasurer’s Office has been represented by Treasurer Mourdock or a senior staff member at over 99% of the board meetings for which he or his designee serve as a member,” Mourdock’s campaign has noted in response.

We have seen this picture before.  In order to win, Lugar needs to lie about Mourdock; in order to win, Mourdock needs to tell the truth about Lugar.


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That all ad hominem Lugar commercial you had up recently, Prof., told me all I needed to see.

Lugar has NUTIN’…NUTIN’…

It is unfortunate that Lugar did not see this election as the appropriate time to retire and step aside for Mourdock. He has been a decent senator but has been in Washington too long (since 1976) is is too old (80 years).

Lugar’s contempt for the residents of Indiana, demonstrated by not even maintaining a voting address in the state he represented, should be enough to convince Hoosiers it’s time for a change.

What is it with our representatives? Even the good ones are bad.

Byron York ‏ @ByronYork

MT @jmartpolitico: Tough but fair RT @politicalwire: Tom Coburn says US Senate is “heavily sedated” & 90% of his colleagues should be fired

Something you might not know, Mourdock is very physically fit and ran the most recent Chicago marathon. If things go badly for business as usual in the Senate, Mourdock is going to be perfectly capable to do filibusters the old fashioned way. Lugar? not so much.

You go Hoosiers, maybe you people will be the inspiration for one of our RINOS here in Texas to for real pull the plug. Maybe both? Feel me Kay Bailey and John Cornyn? Go Ted Cruz!

Lugar claims that Mourdock’s necktie resembles a Confederate flag as well as making an issue of Mourdock allegedly dying his hair. Rumor also has it that Mourdock has on occasion mixed dark clothes with the whites when doing the laundry and that he once held the hind legs of dog forcing the dog to act as a wheelbarrow.


We had a President who was claimed to have dyed his hair… and he worked out pretty good. I think Mourdock is in good company whether or not hair allegation is true.

This Hoosier will be voting against Dick Lugar on May 8th. I believe in a fiscally responsible government with limited powers. I also believe in the Second Amendment.

I never like Lugar much, and Mourdock seems a good guy and perfectly able to hold the seat.

If we show the same zeal for taking out Democrats in purple states that we show for taking out incumbent Republicans who are 10% less conservative than their challengers in red states, we could set up an effective Senate majority.

if so, it would be one of the first wild ones since the Civil War when guys sported Confederate neckties like Richard Mourdock’s

The necktie, as we know it, didn’t exist until the 1920’s.

I’m no civil war expert, but I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a depiction of a Confederate soldier with the flag as neckwear. This may be the most inane political attack of the season.

stevewhitemd | April 17, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Lugar is likely toast.

Consider a scheme of the political spectrum with seven colors from left to right:

indigo — blue — sky — purple — pink — red — crimson.

Figure out where a state and a candidate fits on the spectrum.

Steve’s rule: a state generally won’t vote for a candidate more than one color away from where it is.

Delaware, a blue state, wouldn’t vote for Christine O’Donnell, a red candidate, and went with the indigo Democrat instead. But Utah, a red state, was happy to replace a red senator with a crimson one. There are exceptions: Massachusetts voted for Brown (purple) though it was a blue state, but Senator Brown had the stars all aligned just right. But I suggest a seven color scheme is useful.

Indiana is red despite the 2008 vote for Obama (which many there regret). Indiana went solid red in 2010 and will do so again in 2012.

Lugar is pink trending to purple, whereas Mourdock is red. See where this is going?

I live next door to Indiana, and from what I see/hear, Lugar is likely toast.

“Burnt Toast Scrapings”
Living in Indy and knowing Lugar personally (I worked for him when he was Mayor of Indy) I am surprised at the absolutely lame attacks on Mourdock. The ads infer Mourdock received and will somehow be beholden to “outside money” and the announcer goes all snarky sounding and implies essentially that he is in the pocket of evil forces in Washington. TO contrast, Mourdocks pac ads are to the point and absolutely damning…”only Indiana representative in washington with an F record from the NRA”, “voted for bailouts”, “Supports earmarks”….very compelling stuff and it is playing A LOT!!! Compound that with the huge expected crossover voting by the Democrats to get what they perceive as a “weaker” candidate in the general election and “Toast” may be too weak of a word…perhaps “Burnt Toast Scrapings” would be more apt.

You can’t make chicken salad from chicken shit. And Lugar has nothing with which to make chicken salad.

JackRussellTerrierist | April 18, 2012 at 11:35 am

When the GOP runs actual conservatives for office, they win. The same should be true in primaries.

Throw the bum out.