Lugar asks for non-GOP support ahead of primary

Republican Sen. Richard Lugar lobbied Democrats and independents Friday to cross party lines and save him next week in the political fight of his life.

The six-term senator says he needs votes from outside his own party if he is to survive Tuesday's GOP primary. Recent polling has shown Lugar trailing Tea Party-backed state Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

"I believe right now if a majority of Hoosiers were to vote in this election, that is all Hoosiers regardless of party, Republicans, Democrats and independents, I would win," Lugar said. "I think I have a majority of support in our state."

Indiana has open primaries and some Lugar supporters have already been campaigning for Democrats to cross party lines and save the senator from defeat Tuesday.

Lugar ticked off the list of various groups he has helped as senator, from veterans to farmers. He also told reporters he is best suited to represent Jewish and female Hoosiers along with ethnic minorities. He cited the many programs he has started over his decades in politics, including leadership forums for Indiana women and scholarships for ethnic minorities.

"I'm hopeful that many of those students are campaigning for us even as I speak. And too that all will hopefully vote for us," he said. "This is why we're trying to translate the support from each of the groups I have mentioned into a primary victory."

Conservatives in the state and nationwide have coalesced around Mourdock's campaign over the last year. Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum endorsed Mourdock on Twitter Friday afternoon and conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh pumped Mourdock's campaign on his show Friday.

Moderate Republicans meanwhile have flocked to Lugar's defense. The pro-labor Lunchpail Republicans endorsed Lugar this week and former Ronald Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan pleaded with voters to return Lugar to the Senate.

Tea Partyers meanwhile are planning to rally in downtown Indianapolis for Mourdock on Saturday

"We truly have done what we have been told was impossible," said Monica Boyer, co-chairwoman of Hoosiers for Conservative Senate, an Indiana tea party group organizing Saturday's rally.

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