Updated: Thursday, 03 Feb 2011, 8:26 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 03 Feb 2011, 5:55 PM EST
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Republican Senator Richard Lugar is preparing for a primary challenge in 2012 and there is a new indication that it may come from State Treasurer Richard Mourdock.
That's what a report on Politico.com says. It quotes an unnamed Washington conservative who met with Mourdock this week. Mourdock declined an interview request Thursday and declined to comment on the report.
Mourdock was the leading vote getter in Indiana when he was re-elected as state treasurer in November. He is a conservative who would win a lot of Tea Party support if he enters the Senate race. And less than two weeks, Tea Party organizers met in Tipton County to target Richard Lugar.
"This letter will let him know, thank you, for what you've done," said Tea Party organizer Pat Miller at the time. "We respect you greatly as a person and for what you've done in the past. But to go forward, we feel it's going to need to be a different candidate and that will be shared in the letter."
But Lugar, now in his sixth term, is viewed as unbeatable by the political establishment.
"It's almost impossible for them to get this job done and I think it's really misguided," said former state GOP Chairman Mike McDaniel on Indiana Week in Review.
"The irony about this is they're faulting him for exactly why he has a presence in Washington," said former state Democratic Chair Ann DeLaney, also on Indiana Week in Review, "because he's willing to do what's right even if it goes across party lines."
For his part the senior Senator already has more than $2 million in the bank and a campaign organization in place.
"He is anticipating a challenge both in the primary and the general election," says Lugar press secretary Mark Hayes, "and as a result he has started early, earlier than he has in the past, but he is nothing if not prepared and aware of the situation out there."
In his last race in 2006, Lugar faced no challenge, from Republicans or Democrats. A spokesman for Mourdock does confirm a portion of the Politico story. Mourdock was in Washington this week.
The Politico report says that Mourdock will announce his plans yet this month.
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