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Tactical Errors, Lack of Message Plague Dick Lugar

Michael Conroy/Associated Press
A yard sign calling for voters to "retire" Sen. Dick Lugar stands along the road in New Palestine, Ind. Lugar, running for his seventh term, is facing one of his toughest election battles in the Republican primary against state Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

Even Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), Lugar’s most prominent public backer, acknowledged Mourdock’s long career in Indiana politics would make him a good Senator.

“Richard Mourdock is a credible guy,” Daniels told Roll Call. “He’s not somebody who appeared from nowhere on the fringe of politics. He’s a two-term official elected statewide.”

Mourdock had help with his once-fledgeling campaign. Most notably, outside groups have spent more than $2.3 million on the effort to defeat Lugar. After Mourdock received the Club for Growth’s endorsement in February, the money spigot turned on.

“Hard work pays off — it really does,” Mourdock said after the fried chicken dinner. “Mr. Lugar’s campaign has made some tactical errors as they’ve approached things, and that’s just the nature of campaigning: One side does it the right way, and one side does it the wrong way, and in the end, it all gets added up, somebody wins, somebody loses.”

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