Five Reason Richard Lugar Will Likely Lose Indiana GOP Primary

Very solid analysis. From NBC's First Read:

(1) Residency and outreach: Lugar hasn’t lived in Indiana for years and wasn’t able to say what address was on his driver’s license. Mourdock exploited it. And Lugar didn’t do enough outreach with local GOP establishment or Tea Party leaders. Lugar disputes that, telling NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell: “I've been perfectly connected all the way along. It’s a ridiculous charge. How can anybody be more Hoosier? I've got a farm out here that I continue to work with my sons. I manage it on behalf of our family. I'm in touch every week with everybody in the state, usually on the ground with visits but with our staffs, trying to meet almost every challenge of individual Hoosiers or groups.”

(2) Ignoring the recent past: Last year, Republicans walked Lugar through what went wrong with Bennett, Lisa Murkowski, and Mike Castle. And what went right with John McCain -- no favorite of the Tea Party – who went after opponent J.D. Hayworth early on and never let up. Unfortunately for Lugar, strategists say, the advice was ignored. If you don’t want to change your own stances, then make the alternative unacceptable. McCain made his alternative unacceptable.

(3) Campaign: he didn’t have the kind of campaign in place that was necessary to win this kind of race. Hatch and even Olympia Snowe got it, and hired top operatives. Mourdock hired people who’d been there before;

(4) Message: “Lugar as statesman” just wasn’t going to get the job done. Movements have short-term memories. Mourdock’s message was simple and effective– “Dick Lugar is a fine man, but 36 years in Washington is long enough, and he’s lost touch with Indiana.”;

(5) Candidate: So much of what happens in campaigns, comes from the top. As revered as Lugar is in Washington, he wasn’t able to adapt -- and failed to fully appreciate -- a changing dynamic within his party. Yesterday, for example, he continued to defend earmarks.  

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published this page in In The News 2012-05-08 12:32:00 -0400
Analysis & Political Strategy