Senator Dick Lugar, Indiana Republican, is a long time GOP’er that conservative activists are targeting in the 2012 primaries. Mr. Lugar, who is in his sixth term, appears to be working harder for a seventh term as he has already set up a field campaign office to push back against Tea Party express endorsed candidate, Dick Mourdock.
Amy Kremer, Chair of the Tea Party Express, told UPI in late September, “As his voting record tracked increasingly to the left, it became clear it was time for Lugar to be replaced.”
The Tea Party favored Mr. Mourdock, currently serves as Indiana’s state treasurer. He has also received the support of Citizen’s United, a conservative non-profit best known for overturning key aspects of the McCain-Feingold finance law via a Supreme Court decision in 2010.
Lugar has now turned to Indiana Republican Governor Mitch Daniels for help. According to The Hill:
Daniels has endorsed his former boss Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), in the Republican primary against Tea Party candidate Richard Mourdock. While being careful not to criticize the Tea Party movement, he called Lugar a “mentor” and an “extraordinary public servant.”
“I’m not sure he’s in that much trouble,” Daniels said. “My sense is he’s likely to win, he’s working hard and he’s an icon in our state.”
When asked about the deep-pocketed fiscally conservative Club for Growth, which is targeting Lugar for defeat, Daniels was circumspect.
“All is fair game,” he said. “I regret the tactics that are often used but it’s not for me to say that people with a strong point of view ought not to be able to express it and participate.”
Oddly enough, though, while Daniels served as an intern to Lugar when the Senator was Mayor of Indianapolis in the 1970’s and later followed Mr. Lugar to Washington to become his Chief of Staff on Capitol Hill for the Senator’s first term, the Indiana governor barely mentions his former boss in his new book, “Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans.”
Other than a photo of Lugar in his book, Governor Daniels only makes an indirect reference to Lugar, when Daniels was a City Hall intern in the Indianapolis Mayor’s office.
In his book, Daniels talks about his disgust over public sector unions. According to Daniels, he witnessed public employees giving money to politicians in power in order to keep their public sector jobs. Interestingly, though, Daniels does not mention that Lugar was mayor at the time:
“..I recall watching the cigar box being passed around in local government offices so employees could maintain their membership in the “2 Percent Club” by “voluntarily” donating 2 percent of their meager pay to whichever party was in power, thereby maintaining their jobs.”
It should be noted that Mourdock is the only Indiana Republican elected official who is named in his book. In fact, Daniels sheds positive light on Mourdock saying he supported the Indiana treasurer when Mourdock actively opposed President Obama’s Chrysler bailout.
Lugar may have received Daniel’s endorsement, but when circumstances were not so politically uncomfortable for Daniels to choose between Mourdock and his former boss, one must wonder if Daniels really prefers to charge up a hill with Mourdock instead of Lugar.