Richard Lugar, who has been a U.S. Senator longer than millions of Hoosiers have been alive, has lost to a Tea Party-backed challenger in Indiana's GOP primary, ending a storied political career that spanned nearly four decades.
"Serving the people of Indiana in the United States senate has been the greatest honor of my public life. Hoosiers deserve the best representation possible. They deserve legislators who will listen to their entire spectrum of citizen views and work to achieve consensus. They deserve legislators who go to work every day thinking about how they can solve problems that matter to Hoosiers," said Lugar in his concession speech.
State Treasurer Richard Mourdock won the Republican nomination Tuesday. He spent much of the campaign portraying Lugar as too moderate for the conservative state.
During his victory speech he told supporters he faced a challenging campaign in the months ahead and encouraged them to speak with their neighbors about the race.
"If you will share with them that Joe Donnelly's act on November 6th is to be voting for Barack Obama and I won't be, you know we're going to make the message that this state is going to get back in the right direction. We're going to elect a republican senator, a republican president and a republican governor and we're going to do it with your help," said Mourdock.
Mourdock will face Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly in November, who, following the announcement of Lugar's primary loss, issued a statement extending his gratitude to the longtime senator:
“I thank Senator Lugar for his many years of service to our great state and to our nation. He and I share a history of working across the aisle. I agree with the Senator that we accomplish more when we work together. Senator Lugar and I stood together to rescue the American auto industry, and our state has benefited greatly from his efforts in so many areas."
President Barack Obama also released a statement at the news of Lugar's loss:
"As a friend and former colleague, I want to express my deep appreciation for Dick Lugar’s distinguished service in the United States Senate. While Dick and I didn’t always agree on everything, I found during my time in the Senate that he was often willing to reach across the aisle and get things done."
The 80-year-old Lugar had never faced a primary challenge in his Senate career and was slow to respond to attacks from conservatives unhappy with his voting record and longevity in Washington. Outside groups poured millions into the race and attacked Lugar on his record and whether he was legally registered to vote in Indiana because he did not maintain a home there.