Dick Lugar’s loss to a Tea Party backed challenger in yesterday’s Republican primary has many wondering if the six-term Senator is going to consider an attempt to hold onto his seat without the help of the GOP. By continuing his re-election bid as an independent, Lugar would be following in the footsteps of Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and Connecticut’s Joe Lieberman.
In an Election Day interview, the incumbent ruled out such a tactic if he lost his party’s nomination, but as we know, everything can change once the polls close.
Lugar, the Senate’s longest serving Republican who was known as a moderate willing to work with Democrats, lost his re-nomination bid to a more conservative candidate. And while he seemed to blame hyper-partisanship for his defeat in an Election Night statement, the real cause of Lugar’s defeat was not rabid conservatives in the GOP primary targeting a moderate.
He is not a victim of the Tea Party, it was the residency issue that sunk his campaign. The questions about whether or not Lugar even lives in the state that he represents in the Senate resonated with voters who are already in an anti-incumbent mood thus year. Further complicating an independent bid, the Senator has had the luxury of three decades without having to face a serious challenger.
Attempting to build a campaign from scratch, without any of the Republican Party’s backing, would be too monumental a task for the 80 year old lawmaker.
UPDATE: A commenter notes that Indiana has a sore loser law. So as Lugar has lost the primary, he cannot win a seventh term… at least not without a lawsuit challenging the law. Further water on the speculation that this was even a possibility.