Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) on Friday won the legal battle over whether he would be able to vote in Indiana, but the questions about him leaving the state to live in Washington’s suburbs seem to have done major damage to his chances at reelection.
Lugar hasn’t lived in Indiana for decades, and his political opponents challenged whether he could vote there based on a former home he’s maintained as his voting address during that time. A county board earlier voted that he couldn’t, but has now ruled that he can claim a farm he owns in the state as his address.
The now-completed residency fight has mostly been generated by his political opponents, as Fisher claims. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t worked: The story has been prominently featured on local television and in local newspapers, and Lugar’s challenge to the Marion County board’s earlier ruling gave the story even more fuel.
He is facing Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) in a primary, and Mourdock has locked down the backing of many Tea Party groups in the state as well as the National Rifle Association, the fiscally conservative Club for Growth and the national Tea Party group FreedomWorks.
Although the legal question has now been settled, the conservative groups gunning for Lugar have already begun to bring up his residency in attacks against him. The Club for Growth has taken aim at Lugar on the issue.
“When Dick Lugar moved to Washington 35 years ago the national debt was less than a trillion dollars,” it says in one ad. “Now it’s over $15 trillion.”
Recent polls from a pro-Mourdock group and the Democratic Senatorial
Campaign Committee, both of which want Lugar to lose, show Lugar leading
by a narrow 6-point margin.