Ad wars heating up in Indiana GOP Senate battle
July 20th, 2011
10:12 AM ET
3 years ago

Ad wars heating up in Indiana GOP Senate battle

(CNN) - Longtime Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana is highlighting what could be his biggest liability as he battles for a seventh term in office.

In his first television commercial of his 2012 reelection bid, Lugar touts himself as a needed veteran GOP leader who is battling back alongside rookie Republican lawmakers against the Obama administration, saying in the spot that "I hope you'll agree that a veteran, fighting alongside our new recruits, will help."

Lugar's campaign confirms to CNN that the ad starts airing on television statewide in Indiana on Wednesday and will run through July 29. In what appears to be an ode to tea party activists and other grassroots fiscal conservatives, Lugar says "for 35 years, I've battled for balanced budgets and less government. I've helped beat tough times before. And we can do that again."

The commercial also includes two videos from the 1980's of a younger Lugar working alongside President Ronald Reagan.

Lugar's ad follows the release statewide of a commercial by the fiscally conservative Club for Growth which attacks the senator.

"Thirty-five years. That's how long Richard Lugar has been in Washington. What's he done about our debt?" says the narrator in the Club for Growth ad, which goes onto criticize some of Lugar's votes in recent years. "Lugar voted for the Wall Street bailout, the car company bailouts, the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout."

Lugar is facing a primary challenge from the right, from Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who announced his bid on February 22. Lugar has a huge advantage of Mourdock when it comes to campaign cash. Lugar raised $900,000 last quarter and had $3.54 million cash on hand as of July 1. Mourdock brought in $300,000 in fundraising in the second quarter.

Beside the Club for Growth, 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 is the most senior Republican member of the Senate. 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.

– Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN


Filed under: 2012 • Ads • Indiana • Richard Lugar • Senate
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. gt

    been there to long new blood both sides..

    July 20, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Like many other Republicans, Sen. Lugar is serving his final term in Congress. And like so many Republicans, he will not be replaced by another hive minded conservative.

    July 20, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  3. reality

    I,m asking, "Where is Senator McCain on this "Right Wing Extremist Cult Movement???? I use to have some respect for Mr. McCain,"Until he Fathered the Teaparty Cult?? Your "Failen Palin" started this Cult,and is ready to throw "OUR VETERNS OF WWII,Veitnam, Desertstorm,Iraq,Korean war, Out in the Streets,Sir???? My Dad is 93 yrs old,was wounded in WWII living in a Nursing Home,and you want to "Kick My Father OUT?????? What are you thinking,Senator??? I think our Veterns would like to Know, Mr. McCain????????

    July 20, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  4. jacq

    Wow cannibalism,eating their own.....

    July 20, 2011 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  5. The Clear Thinking Independent Voter

    "Thirty-five years. That's how long Richard Lugar has been in Washington. What's he done about our debt?" says the narrator in the Club for Growth ad, which goes onto criticize some of Lugar's votes in recent years. "Lugar voted for the Wall Street bailout, the car company bailouts, the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout."
    – – – – – – – – – – – –

    This ad speaks volumes.

    1.) The national debt is the product of decades (over 30 years) of fiscal imbalance [DEBT = REVENUES - EXPENSES]. Republicans have held the Oval Office fo 20 of the last 30 years.

    2.) Obama was 15 years old when Lugar came to the Senate. Since the National Debt was built even pre-dating Lugars election, to associate the Debt as Obama's fault is just plain dishonest.

    3.) It was Lugar's votes for Ronald Reagan's unnecessary Defense Spending, the Unfunded Bush Tax Cuts and the unwarranted MiddleEast wars - said another way - his support for Republican SPENDING that turbocharged our National Debt.

    Saving the auto companies – – Lugar's support for DEMOCRATIC SPENDING – – which saved hundreds-of-thousands of jobs - was not the problem.

    American voters wake up and smell the coffee, forget the tea.

    July 20, 2011 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I wonder if the challengers from the right will force Lugar to spend so much money that he doesn't have enough for the general election. I doubt that will happen. I would hope that Lugar would state in a debate that his challengers won't have any senority in the Senate which is sometimes the only way to get something done.

    July 20, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |