THE TEA PARTY IS BACK: Here’s How They Beat Dick Lugar
May 9, 2012
In January 2011, Tea Party Express co-founder Sal Russo had dinner with a then-little known candidate who was preparing to become the tea party’s Republican alternative in the Indiana U.S. Senate race.
Richard Mourdock, Indiana’s State Treasurer, was that candidate. His task was tall: His opponent would be six-term U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar, a force in Indiana politics for more than 40 years.
Unseating an incumbent is hard. Unseating a six-term incumbent is even more of a daunting mission. But at that dinner, Russo knew he had a candidate he could endorse when he asked Mourdock what his approach would be to unseating Lugar.
“Sen. Lugar’s been an outstanding public servant,” Russo recalls Mourdock saying. “I’m not going to berate him. I’ll respect the job that he’s done. But it’s time for a change. It’s time for him to take his gold watch and retire.”