Indiana Senate: Mourdock Could Challenge Lugar

Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) “is taking the steps to formally launch a primary challenge against six-term Sen. Richard Lugar in the coming weeks, according to multiple Republicans familiar with his thinking,” POLITICO reports.

Mourdock, a former county commissioner who won the treasurer’s office in 2006, has been solidifying his plans by reaching out to campaign operatives and vendors and was in Washington this week to touch base with a coterie of players who could aid his insurgent bid.

“Mourdock is meeting folks around town. He was here yesterday. I’m expecting a public announcement very soon,” one conservative operative told POLITICO.

Offered another GOP player, “I understand Mourdock is planning to jump into the race soon. Sounded like weeks, not days.”

During his visit “to D.C., Mourdock’s itinerary included a meeting with South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, who developed a reputation as a crowning conservative king-maker during the 2010 cycle.”

But DeMint has publicly promised not to oppose any sitting Republican incumbents this cycle — an olive branch extended to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which privately seethed at DeMint’s endorsements of alternative candidates throughout last year.

Update (2/4): The Washington Post reports that Mourdock will “announce a primary challenge to Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) on Feb. 22.”

Ted Ogle, the 6th district chairman for the Indiana Republican Party and Bartholomew County Republican Party chairman, said in an e-mail to supporters that he spoke with Mourdock on Friday morning and learned of the state treasurer’s plans. He said he will be endorsing Mourdock.

“He will be announcing Feb. 22 his run for US Senate in a primary against Senator Lugar,” Ogle said. “With respect to Senator Lugar, Richard is my friend. For what it’s worth I will be announcing my support that same day.”

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