Sen. Lugar meets with Tea Party but remains a primary target

A two-hour sit-down with Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) last month didn't impress Tea Party leaders in Indiana, who are still vowing to find a primary challenger to the six-term senator.

The meeting took place in mid-December, according to CNN, and those who participated described the exchange as "cordial."

Greg Fettig, who heads the Tea Party group Hoosier Patriots, told CNN that even though Lugar appealed for the support of the state's Tea Party groups, no support is forthcoming. 

"We obviously would beg to differ that he is conservative, and our experience is that he won't get the support of any Tea Party group across the state," Fettig said. "This is something that has really been building for years. A lot of Tea Party people have said, 'Who is this guy? He might as well have a "D" in front of his name.' "

Even before the recently wrapped lame-duck session, Tea Party activists in Indiana were making noise about taking on Lugar in 2012, citing several of his Senate votes during the past two years. Conservatives were angered by votes in favor of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and for the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.   

During the lame-duck, Lugar made himself an even bigger target for conservatives, backing the DREAM Act and START Treaty and bucking many members of his party in voting against a ban on earmarks in the Senate. 

Potential Republican primary challengers to Lugar include Indiana state Sen. Mike Delph and state Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

A spokesman for Lugar told CNN that the senator had a "good conversation" with Tea Party leaders during the meeting and noted that Lugar pointed out his agreement with activists on a broad range of issues.