Washington (CNN) – Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, who faces a primary challenge next year, says his re-election campaign brought in nearly $1 million so far this year.
In an email release Monday, Lugar reports raising nearly $974,000 in the first quarter of 2011, bringing his campaign's cash on hand to just over $3 million.
"I'm enthusiastic about a great campaign that our supporters are waging," said Lugar, in a statement. "We started this campaign months ago because I wanted to be clear about my intention to seek reelection in 2012."
Lugar is facing a primary challenge from the right, from Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who announced his bid on February 22. An aide to Mourdock tells CNN that they'll be releasing their campaign cash numbers later this week. State Sen. Mike Delph is also considering a primary challenge.
Lugar says the first quarter numbers are a first step in what he says will be a strong re-election effort.
"The funds raised in this first quarter of 2011 lay a solid foundation for all of the activity my campaign team is initiating throughout Indiana," Lugar said. "We are building a solid grassroots organization of supporters, givers and volunteers across Indiana. They will ward off any outside groups that want to dictate their own agenda on Hoosiers."
Some local groups, like Hoosiers for a Conservative Senate, and some national organizations, like FreedomWorks, are trying to find a consensus conservative candidate to take on Lugar in next year's GOP Senate primary.
Lugar, the most senior Republican member of the Senate, is running next year for a seventh term in office. He's been criticized by many Tea Party activists and other grass-roots conservatives for his willingness to work with Senate Democrats to seek bipartisan solutions, for his votes in favor of President Obama's Supreme Court nominees the past two years, and for his 2008 vote in favor of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, better known as TARP. They were also upset with him for his early public openness last year to vote in favor of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Russia.
The 79 year old lawmaker was first elected to the Senate in 1976 after serving as mayor of Indianapolis. Lugar did not face a primary challenge in 2006 and won 87 percent of the vote in the general election, facing only a libertarian candidate.
The winner of the May 8, 2012 GOP primary would likely be considered the favorite to win the general election.
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The voters of Indiana would be nuts not to keep Lugar in office – that said, too many of the Indiana voters are little lemmings and follow the very far right conservative Christian rightwingers in lockstep. It will be a shame if the tea baggers win this one as they won't know just what they lost until it's too late – just like with the 2010 election messes they've created.
I don't vote for Sen. Lugar's party, but I support him 100%. He is one of the few voices of reason the Republican Party has left and they are trying to dump him. That should tell you something about that Party (the same people who put up and support Palin). I might have voted for McCain if they hadn't paired him up with the Alaskan nutcase....... The Republican Party is sooo lost, that they are allowing extremists to chart their path.
It's a very sad commentary when Tea Party and other conservative elements of the Republican party are up in arms because Senator Lugar had the audacity to work with Democrats!
I hope that the good people of Indiana dump this bozoo next year.
This is very unfortunate. I used to live in Indiana, and Dick Lugar is one of the few Republicans I have voted for. He is a very responsible leader, and although I don't agree with him on some issues, he is well respected around the world. This is the type of moderate we need in government (Republican or Democrat). It is unfortunate to see him pushed out (or at least tried to be pushed out) by the fringe of his party.
I love how when a Republican Senator is willing to work with Democrats to accomplish legislation that will benefit ALL Americans he is vilified by the right wing because at times he does not support their conservative agenda. If only more politicians (both right and left) would follow Senator Lugar's lead, a majority of the issues facing the United States today could be resolved.
Too bad Mr. Lugar will not be returning for another term. The handwriting is already on the wall. The Democrat is going to win.
We give the wealthy tax cuts; they contribute millions and millions $ to politicians. If only JOBS with decent pay would be created with those millions so that there are fewer unemployed needing assistance with food, medications, housing, etc. etc. I know, we live in a society where it's "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours!".
The extreme right's refusal to compromise and cooperate will be their ultimate demise. Nobody likes a greedy self-seeing brat. Just sayin'.
Incredible how people want to remove someone who is willing to work with people he doesn't always agree with. If some people get their way there would be nothing done in Washington.
1 million in nursing home bingo funny money possibly.
Go ahead T-B'ers. Remove yet another thinking republican and replace him with one of your drones that has no free will. They live only to serve the Koch Brothers and the other big-money contributors funding the Bags. Your drive to bring your party to "purity" is nothing short of Germany in the 30's
He's been criticized by many Tea Party activists and other grass-roots conservatives for his willingness to work with Senate Democrats to seek bipartisan solutions.
There it is in a nut shell such an unamerican opinion willingness to work with the opposit side of the row is a bad thing. As if the Senate Democrats are not Americans as well, with just a different approach to social and financial issue. If you close your eyes and just llisten you may think you are hearing the TALIBAN in Afghan. with their unwillingness to work with change. the Taliban want 13th century and Far Right want 19th century replayed.