INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Retiring U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar reiterated Wednesday
that he will not campaign for Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock
after a mailer from a longtime conservative opponent claimed Lugar’s “torch
has been passed” to the tea-party hero who beat him in the primary.
The mailer comes as both Mourdock and Democrat Joe Donnelly fight
desperately for the “Lugar Republicans,” or moderate voters, who appear
likely to swing Indiana’s tight Senate battle.
Lugar spokesman Andy Fisher said Wednesday the piece was “clearly
unauthorized” and said Lugar’s refusal to campaign for Mourdock has not
“During the primary, Mourdock and his supporters perpetuated misleading
statements about Sen. Lugar. Unfortunately that has continued with this
mailer funded by a committee that spent over $100,000 to defeat Sen. Lugar.
It was clearly unauthorized and done without consultation with us,” Lugar
spokesman Andy Fisher said in a statement.
The mailer sent by conservative lawyer Jim Bopp’s USA Super PAC to Hoosiers
this week claims “Indiana’s torch has been passed from one great leader to
another” on the front and on the back says, “Senator Richard Lugar
faithfully served Indiana for 36 years. He’s now looking to a new leader to
keep Indiana moving forward.”
Bopp, who crafted the idea of super PACs last year as a member of the
Republican National Committee, pointed out that Lugar has said he will vote
for Mourdock in November and wants Republicans to have a majority in the
“I know that there are hard feelings that may not have healed from the
primary, but it is incumbent on Republicans to make sure that Congressman
Donnelly is not allowed to cynically exploit the situation,” Bopp said in a
Lugar issued two statements the night of his primary loss to Mourdock. One
statement said he would gladly support Mourdock as the victor in the race,
but the second excoriated Mourdock as being unwilling to compromise. Since
then, Mourdock has continued to try and win Lugar’s mantle in the general
election — claiming in Monday’s debate that he had been endorsed by the
senator, but Lugar has kept him at arms’ length throughout the campaign.
Mourdock said Wednesday he’s not responsible for messages sent by outside
groups like Bopp’s, but then he praised Lugar.
“Sen. Lugar is a great American, he is a great Hoosier. He has earned the
right to respond in any way he wants to and any way he chooses to,” Mourdock
said Wednesday during a press conference with Arizona Sen. John McCain and
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. McCain quickly changed the subject to
President Barack Obama’s answer about Libya in Tuesday’s presidential
Lugar also has had nothing to say for Democrat Joe Donnelly. Indiana
Democrats fueled stories about Lugar not owning a home in Indiana and voting
from the Indianapolis house he sold in 1977, in a bizarre alliance with the
state’s tea party activists and the Mourdock campaign heading into the
Donnelly hit Mourdock in Monday’s debate for sending a fundraising letter
after the primary that said Lugar “betrayed conservatives” during his time
in Washington. Mourdock later blamed the wording on a campaign contractor
and said he would not have used the term “betrayed.”