Lugar comment stirs up disagreement in Mourdock, Donnelly race
Lugar's 'made no commitments' to Mourdock campaign
Last Updated: 274 days ago
A statement by Sen. Richard Lugar that he will not campaign for fellow Republican Richard Mourdock is getting a lot of attention.
Mourdock's aides are downplaying the statement, saying it is irrelevant because Lugar has already endorsed their candidate. But Democrats say without campaign assistance, the endorsement is worthless, and Democrat Joe Donnelly said it shows Lugar is really closer to him.
Lugar's statement was made during an interview with IndyPolitics.org. He was responding to a question about whether he would personally campaign for the man who beat him in the primary, Richard Mourdock.
"I've not been a factor in this campaign, and I do not intend to do so," Lugar said. "I've made no commitments with regard to the campaign except to say, as I did the night that I lost that primary election, that I ask voters to support Mr. Mourdock so that Mitch McConnell and the Republicans in the Senate will have the majority."
But that last sentence is what Mourdock aides are keying on. They say that constitutes an endorsement by Lugar, and it doesn't matter if he physically joins Mourdock on the stump.
Deputy Campaign Manager Brose McVey wrote in a statement, "Lugar has made it clear that he supports Mourdock's election."
But Donnelly doesn't see it that way. He instead looks at Lugar's primary-night critique of Mourdock's "No Compromise" stand.
"I think if you look at Sen. Lugar's statements on Election Night, where he said anyone who conducts himself the way Richard Mourdock has conducted himself will have absolutely no success in the United States Senate and will not be able to even function in that office, that's what Sen. Lugar believes," Donnelly said.
Donnelly wouldn't comment when asked if Lugar's most recent statement might wind up in one of his own ads.
One of the founders of Republicans for Donnelly, Anne Emison Wishard, said the Mourdock people are wrong and that Lugar's endorsement by itself is meaningless.
Wishard said she believes most people won't believe Lugar supports Mourdock unless he says it in an actual campaign setting.
"For most of the people who are out in the general public, who don't understand the difference, it would be Lugar being on the stump and saying, 'This is the man I want you to vote for,' that would make a difference," she said.
Wishard and another leader of the group are planning a public event for Donnelly early next month to show their support and to rally support from other Lugar republicans.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.