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Lugar: Tea Party could cost Senate GOP majority

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Tea Party supporters that helped the Republicans win a U.S. House majority last year also prevented the party from taking control of the Senate and could do it again in 2012, Senator Richard Lugar said.

Lugar, 79, an Indiana Republican, said his seat could be in danger if he loses a primary next year to state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who is backed by Tea Party groups. U.S. Representative Joe Donnelly is seeking the Democratic nod.

“Republicans who are running for re-election ought to be supported by people who want to see that majority,” Lugar said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Lugar characterized the Tea Party groups as “very conservative Republicans” and said that he had “a very conservative voting record” in the Senate deserving of their support.

His campaign website touts his opposition to President Barack Obama’s health-care law, which provides coverage for millions of uninsured Americans, and his support for a national sales tax instead of the progressive income tax that requires the wealthy to pay more.

He mentioned Nevada and Colorado as two states where Tea Party-backed Senate candidates won Republican primaries last year before losing the general election to Democratic incumbents. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid defeated former state legislator Sharron Angle in Nevada and Sen. Michael Bennett beat county prosecutor Ken Buck in Colorado.

“There were people who claim that they wanted somebody who was more of their Tea Party aspect, but in doing so they killed off the Republican chances for majority,” Lugar said. “This is one of the reasons we have a minority in the Senate right now.”

Mourdock, 60, is backed by a coalition of Tea Party groups, Hoosiers for a Conservative Senate. He also has the support of the political action committee of FreedomWorks, the Tea Party- aligned group led by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas.

Mourdock’s campaign website criticizes Lugar for supporting the Troubled Asset Relief Program, passed under Republican President George W. Bush to bail out the financial industry; and for supporting federal aid for General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, an Obama administration program that saved both companies.

Democrats now hold a 53-47 edge in the Senate, including two independents who caucus with them.

Through Sept. 30, Lugar’s campaign had $3.8 million in the bank, compared with $291,640 for Mourdock, Federal Election Commission reports show.

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  • Seen the Nile
    It is WAY past time for our dear senior Senator to "step aside" ... for the good of the cause which includes the State of Indiana. It is troubling when a powerful voice from the U.S. Senate criticizes a group or movement who truly believes it is past time to return to the fundamentals of government - and that basic function is to SERVE all the constituents from the state you have been elected to serve.

    All that needs to be said and is factual regarding Mr. Lugar's recent record:
    #1 - Mr. Lugar voted for BOTH of President Obama's Supreme Court nominees (now judges). That act alone is worthy of his dismissal from the voters of Indiana. #2 - Mr. Lugar is opposed to term limits for elected officials ... again I say, what ever happened to serving the people???

    I care not about Mr. Lugar's opinion as to "how other Republican's who were supported by the Tea Party were defeated in the general election". There is without a doubt a strong swelling tide taking place - and the Senator's recent comments confirm "he is very concerned" about losing his seat. Let's elect anyone who will abide by the basics of less government in all our lives.
  • Escuses, Excuses,Excuses
    ...The Tea Party gave the Republican Party control of the House, and Boehner et. al, have done nothing but bumble away opportunity after opportunity to change the direction of this government...they do not deserve to hold their leadership positions, and The Tea Party will work hard to change that situation..
    Depend upon it...
  • Common Sense
    Why when establishment politicians challenged do people automatically resort to esoteric propaganda and name calling. The few people who responded to this article should provide comments and references for a position. Great, one person doen't like the Tea Party, one person doesn't like liberals, etc. No one is saying anything.

    The fact of the matter is our debt cap is about to go up 1.3 trillion (again). Senator Lugar has not had the political fortitude (in spite of his safe seat) to support a fiscally conservative government so he should go.

    Conversly, the dems/libs have controlled congress for nearly 4 years and spent us into this dire situation.

    The Tea Party position, as I understand it, is to reduce spending (and taxes) for everyone including rich and middle class.

    Here is a linke and source with some information about your tax the rich strategy.
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2011/12/25/sen-harry-reids-unicorns-fact-checking-a-whopper/
  • OH REALLY!
    The tea party is a joke. The new right congressmen from Indiana only care about themselves. How many went to Isreal, which someone paid 28,000 for the trip. How do these people know the pain of a person in this state that only makes 28,0000 a year as wages. Get off your mythical high horse and resign, show me that your ideals match your actions.
  • Anything to get the Republicans to heck out of all of Congress.
    The G(Grand?)OP-------------the party of the rich and famous.
  • GOOD!
    if that happens, maybe the GOP would learn to represent ALL their constituents, rather than a select few. i am a conservative, and i will not be voting for republicans this election. the republican party has failed the middle class. this is how politics is supposed to work. if you fail to represent people in a way that they approve of as a majority, you lose your job. there is nothing wrong with that,
  • SIT DOWN
    Luger needs to sit the hell down and shut up! his time is just like our wonderful DNC House chairman is OVER! funny after all this time Luger and Indiana House Democratic Leader Pat Bauer end up being the two worst things for Indiana!
  • Well said
    Rick - My thoughts exactly, Lugar should realize it is time to step down. Wasn't it Lugar who was the first to jump with the most recent payroll tax deal. He sided with the Dems in giving a 2 month extension when the Republicans were wanting a 10 month extension. After the deal is done BO then turns around and lectures to the American people that the Republicans are standing in the way of middle class tax breaks...UGGH!!!
  • Sorry Mr. Lugar
    It is absolutely no surprise that Lugar would start his attacks on the Tea Party, or for that matter, anyone who would challenge what he feels is his "right" to continue on with his Rino ways in the Senate. I only hope that everyone educates themselves as to Lugars voting records. Richard Mourdock would be a very viable choice to replace this career politician. In my opinion, as a very right conservative, even Joe Donnelly would be a much better representative of Indiana than Lugar. Also, it is a laugh to read the other comment on this topic attacking the Tea Party. Please further your education of what the majority Tea Party stances are before espousing your hatred of the conservative right. Taxed Enough Already and not even invited to Hawaii with Michelle and Hussein, even though I am paying for it !
  • Is what you got!
    The Tea Party was the worse thing to happen to politics if that was possible.. I thought a 3rd party would be good but given it's the Radical Right Tea Party who have know idea what it takes to run a country. It was the worse mistake voters have made yet!
  • Working
    People, no matter what their job title is, will always have a job if they are doing their job to the best of their ability. It appears to me that the Congress and Senate have not been working to the best of their ability. They all seem to be working for a special interest group or someone with a lot of money or owed favors. They do not seem to care about the people who make minimum wage. For that matter, anyone who isn't being paid $100,000 annually. I worked for 31 years, every day, all of the overtime I could get, at best, I made almost $36,000 one year. My body is broken down and all I hear is how bad it is for the elected officials! Do your job! Work for your constituents, the people who voted you in office term after term. Do you have anything except foreign affairs to get involved with? I have not heard of your record of votes on the economy. Shouldn't we take care of America first, before we send money overseas?

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