After serving 36 years in the U.S. Senate, Dick Lugar was defeated Tuesday by Tea Party-backed Richard Mourdock in Indiana's Republican primary.
Mourdock was declared the winner only 90 minutes after the polls closed. With 98 percent of the vote counted, Mourdock crushed Lugar 61 percent to 39 percent, according to the Indianapolis Star.
The six-term veteran of the Senate congratulated Mourdock, Indiana's state treasurer, on his "victory and a hard-fought race" in a speech Tuesday.
"I want to see a Republican in the White House," Lugar said. "I want to see my friend Mitch McConnell have a Republican majority in the Senate. I hope that Richard Mourdock prevails in November so he can contribute to that Republican majority."
Known as a foreign policy voice, Lugar was attacked for being out of touch with the people of Indiana for not remaining in his home state. Opponents also criticized 80-year-old Lugar for his age, questioning whether he could handle a seventh term, although he had said he was up for it.
Mourdock will face a general election matchup with U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Libertarian Andy Horning in November.
With Mourdock's primary victory, Democrats are likely to target the Indiana seat as a potential pickup opportunity in a year when they are defending far more seats than the Republicans.
Mourdock, who lost two House races in the early 90's, was seen as an unlikely candidate months ago. However, with the help of political action groups, he was able to rake in millions of dollars for his campaign.
"This hasn't been about me. This has been about all of you. You got this done," Mourdock told an audience of supporters during a victory speech in Indianapolis.
"When I began this campaign, Senator Lugar was not my enemy," Mourdock said. "He is not now my enemy. He will never by my enemy. He was simply, over the last 15 months, my opponent."
But now, he said, Republicans need "to get this country back on a course where all can rise and all sense the excitement of the dream that is America."
The White House also weighed in on Lugar's defeat.
"As a friend and former colleague, I want to express my deep appreciation for Dick Lugar's distinguished service in the United States Senate," President Barack Obama said.
He added, "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."
by RTT Staff Writer
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