(CNN) – At the close of one of the toughest primary challenges dealt an incumbent this year, Sen. Dick Lugar of Indiana argued in an interview Tuesday that he is one of the bright spots in a body many see dimly.
"The public as a whole may be unhappy with one party or the other, but they're very unhappy with the Congress as a whole for their inability to make decisions," Lugar told CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash. "I'm a person who makes sure we do get on with it, that there is progress, and with personal vigor I argue with people.
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"I try to persuade people, I try to get votes on issues, and I hope to continue to do that," he said, touting his work on jobs and national security.
Lugar, the longest-serving Republican in the US Senate, is known for his foreign policy expertise, and especially his nuclear weapon anti-proliferation efforts. He pointed out that he has worked on the issue through "several administrations" - over a 36-year Senate career, which has included advice given to President Barack Obama.
"Whenever the president has called for me to come to the White House for consultation, either by myself or with others, I have come," Lugar said. "He has not frequently taken my advice, but I give it as an American. I think it's very important that the president hear the point of view of foreign policy that I've studied, and believe it's very important."
The senator and his conservative challenger, Indiana state treasurer Richard Mourdock, have split the endorsements of prominent Republicans, and the most recent poll shows Lugar trailing Mourdock by 10 points.
Polls close in the Indiana primary at 7 p.m. ET Tuesday.
He said in the interview that he was warned of the challenge and "knew that we had a campaign from the beginning," but believes that his conservative credentials are strong.
"I would just say simply my voting record has been one of almost constant opposition to the president because I am conservative," he said.
"I have 100% with the Chamber of Commerce, with the NAM, NFIB, obviously the president would not have," he continued, pointing to his voting scores with the National Association of Manufacturers and National Federation of Independent Businesses.
Reflecting on three decades in Washington, Lugar sounded reflective when asked what the Senate would be like without him.
"I think I've grown in the experience," he said. "We have learned as we have visited with Hoosiers all these years about a whole variety of objectives and goals…. I've learned a lot about the rest of the world, about the dangers that we face, and ways that I could be effective."