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Sarah Palin Endorses Richard Mourdock, for Senate in Indiana     Permalink

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), who is running for his seventh term in the Senate, got some bad news yesterday. Sarah Palin endorsed his opponent, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock in the May 8 primary. Palin is a clever politician and would probably not endorse anyone so close to the election unless she thought the endorsee was going to win, so she could claim it was her endorsement that put him over the top. The only recent poll in the Mourdock-Lugar race was one sponsored by Citizens United and released last week. It shows Mourdock ahead by 5 points. Possibly this poll is what motivated Palin to go public. Probably she, like much of the media (but unlike this Website) doesn't realize that polls released by campaigns are highly suspect and shouldn't be taken seriously. Candidates conduct legitimate polls all the time, but the numbers they release need to be taken with a grain--no, make that a metric ton--of salt.

As if that weren't enough, a major Republican superPAC, the American Action Network, pulled the plug on Lugar yesterday--after having spent nearly $650,000 on ads for him. This event, coupled with Palin's endorsement, suggests that Lugar is genuinely in trouble and insiders are starting to think that Mourdock will win.

However, those same insiders, especially the Republican establishment, should be very worried about a Mourdock victory. The Democrats held control of the Senate in 2010 despite a Republican wave basically due to three tea party victories in primaries. Sharron Angle in Nevada snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, going down to a very unpopular Harry Reid. Christine "I am not a witch" O'Donnell in Delaware defeated former representative Mike Castle in the primary, turning a certain Republican victory into defeat at the hands of the largely unknown Chris Coons. Finally, in Colorado, Ken Buck took down the state's Lieutenant Governor, who was sure to beat appointed senator Michael Bennet, and handed the Democrats a Senate seat.

If Lugar survives his primary, he is virtually certain to defeat Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) in the general election. Lugar is highly respected on both sides of the aisle as well as in Indiana. However, if Mourdock wins the primary, a Republican win against Donnelly is far less certain. The race could easily be a repeat of the 2010 races pitting a tea-party backed newcomer against a relatively weak Democrat, with the Democrat winning. Adding to the mix here is the fact that unlike 2010, this year we have a presidential election, which guarantees a greater Democratic turnout. Although President Obama actually won Indiana in 2008, it is very unlikely he can do it again. Nevertheless, his presence on the ticket might be enough to let Donnelly beat Mourdock. In any event, this is the race to watch leading up to May 8.

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Previous headlines

Dec31 Romney Sweeps all Five Northeast Primaries
Dec31 Tom Smith Wins Pennsylvania GOP Senatorial Primary
Dec31 Critz Defeats Altmire in Pennsylvania Democratic House Primary
Apr25 Romney Sweeps all Five Northeast Primaries
Apr25 Tom Smith Wins Pennsylvania GOP Senatorial Primary
Apr25 Critz Defeats Altmire in Pennsylvania Democratic House Primary
Apr16 Three Republican Senate Seats Up for Grabs
Apr11 Santorum Quits Race
Apr10 Competitive Races for Democratic Senate Seats
Apr04 Romney Wins a Tripleheader
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Apr03 Romney Advisors Trying to Decide Whether to Unleash the Candidate
Apr03 Primaries in D.C., Maryland, and Wisconsin Today
Apr03 Federal Mandates Have Been Around for over 200 Years
Mar30 Supreme Court Could Become an Election Issue
Mar27 Lose to Win?
Mar25 Santorum Continues His Southern Winning Streak in Louisiana
Mar25 Can Romney Clear the Etch a Sketch?
Mar24 Santorum Headed for Win in Louisiana Primary Today
Mar24 Club for Growth Buying Airtime Against Lugar
Mar21 Romney Wins Illinois by 12%
Mar21 Maine Senate Race Candidates Now Known
Mar20 Romney Expected to Win Illinois Primary Today
Mar20 Republicans to Propose Major Tax Reform Today
Mar19 Romney Wins Puerto Rico
Mar18 No Results from the Raucous Caucus
Mar18 Puerto Rico in the Spotlight Today
Mar11 Santorum Wins Kansas Caucus
Mar10 Santorum Favorite to Win Kansas Caucus Today
Mar10 Angus King Endorses Obama
Mar07 Romney wins Ohio and five other states, Santorum wins three states
Mar06 Today is Super Tuesday
Mar06 Independent Throws Maine Senate Race into Turmoil
Mar04 Romney Wins Washington, Paul Second (Maybe)
Mar03 Washington State Holds Caucuses Today
Mar03 Maine Senate Field Taking Shape
Feb29 Romney Barely Wins Michigan
Feb29 Olympia Snow Announces Her Retirement
Feb28 Michigan Too Close to Call
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