Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) “will kick off his campaign against Sen. Dick Lugar Tuesday, setting up the longtime Republican lawmaker for a potentially competitive primary,” Roll Call reports.
Mourdock told Roll Call that he will reveal a list of supporters that includes more than 75 percent of GOP county chairmen in the state.
Ted Ogle, chairman of both the Bartholomew County and 6th Congressional district Republican parties said he would be among the county chairmen endorsing Mourdock.
Mourdock said last week that he’s still trying to recruit county chairmen, so he would not disclose a specific number of endorsements, giving only the 75 percent figure. Ogle said Mourdock’s endorsement figure sounded right to him. Mourdock said his establishment support is a sign he is not running as an outsider.
“Certainly I expect Sen. Lugar’s campaign team to say I’m some tea party candidate and we’re charging the walls of the Republican fort, and in fact, it’s exactly the opposite,” Mourdock said in an interview.
Lugar senior adviser Mark Helmke dismissed Mourdock’s support but did not dispute the figure.
“Endorsements have not always translated into votes,” Helmke told Roll Call. He pointed to a 1996 Republican gubernatorial primary between Rex Early and Stephen Goldsmith, when he said Early had the support of a majority of county chairmen but Goldsmith won the primary. Goldsmith ultimately lost the general election to Democrat Frank O’Bannon.
Mourdock said he “respects Lugar but disagrees with his votes for the two newest Supreme Court justices, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, and his efforts helping President Barack Obama pass the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.”