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GOP Senate Primary Narrows in Indiana

1:26 PM, Mar 19, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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A pair of new polls shows Indiana state treasurer Richard Mourdock within six points of incumbent Republican senator Richard Lugar in the GOP primary race. Politico reports:

Both polls -- one paid for by Citizens United, the other by Rep. Joe Donnelly's campaign -- produced the same result: Lugar ahead by just 6 points, 45 percent to 39 percent.

The Citizens United-Wenzel Strategies survey last week of likely primary voters shared first with POLITICO has 15 percent undecided.

The Global Strategy Group survey for Donnelly highlights Lugar's shrinking margin.

"In October 2011, Lugar lead Mourdock by 12 points, 48 percent to 36 percent," writes pollster Jef Pollock.  "Today, that margin is cut in half, 45% to 39%."

In a sign that Lugar understands his vulnerability, his campaign has released a new TV ad saying Mourdock is "misleading" Hoosiers on Lugar's Obamacare record. Watch the ad below:

Indiana GOP primary voters head to the polls on May 8, and the winner will face Democratic congressman Joe Donnelly. Ken Tomlinson wrote about the Lugar-Mourdock race in a recent issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD:

Lugar is widely seen as enjoying a huge financial advantage over Mourdock, having raised a $4 million campaign treasury for his reelection, compared with the $1.3 million raised by Mourdock. But in the era of super-PACs, groups like the Club for Growth and the NRA could help even the score. Mourdock’s pollster, the respected John McLaughlin, says the challenger already holds a clear advantage over Lugar among Republicans who know the records of the two candidates. 

Mourdock is a geologist by profession who became a successful businessman before turning to his first love, issue-oriented politics. Over the years he has become a regular on the Indiana Republican speaking circuit, and in 2010 he won reelection as state treasurer with 62 percent of the vote, the only treasurer in memory to lead the GOP ticket. Mourdock had drawn national attention in 2009 by filing suit to block Obama’s unprecedented bailout of Chrysler, which gave preference to UAW workers over bondholders, including an Indiana state police pension fund. Federal courts allowed the bailout to proceed.

Lugar, the former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is an honored figure in Washington, a favorite of the foreign policy establishment, but Mourdock is challenging that foreign policy record, charging Lugar “has been among the senators least friendly to the state of Israel.” He condemns Lugar’s support for Israel’s returning to its pre-1967 borders and Lugar’s past votes against sanctions aimed at Iran and its supporters.

Read the whole thing here.

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