INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock is poised to unseat six-term incumbent Dick Lugar. Indiana has carried the 80-year-old U.S. Senator to victory with no less than 67% of the popular vote every election since 1982. UWEE’s Thor Tolo is traveling around the Hoosier state providing continuous updates throughout the day. Times are PST.
Update: In making longtime U.S. Senator Dick Lugar of Indiana the first-ever six-term senator to lose his or her seat at the polls Tuesday, Richard Mourdock has rocked this country’s political core and made it be known that the Tea Party – whatever one thinks of it – is not dead. His margin of victory is a staggering 20 points – 60% to 40%. Presidents would salivate at such numbers, including the one who once called Lugar his “favorite Republican.”
Those words from Barack Obama – more than anything – may have been the fire the Tea Party desperately needed lighted to rally necessary support to overthrow the only other genuinely moderate Senator in Washington, D.C. besides Susan Collins of Maine. On his way out of “media lane” in that same community center, Mourdock turned to a top aide and said simply, “Wow, can you believe this?”
Update: 6:53pm. The next Senator from the great state of Indiana strolls out of the community center along North High School road and steps back into the waiting SUV.
Update: 6:31pm. Mourdock conducts his final one-on-one media interview of the evening, moves to his left, and begins signing autographs at a remarkable variety of places on people’s bodies – all keeping with his traditional, old-fashioned roots, of course.
Update: 5:46pm. Mourdock is asked what he might say during his victory speech. He hesitates, reaches for coat pocket, and says he “forgot script on his desk.” He isn’t joking.
Update: 5:44pm. Senator-elect Mourdock and Marilyn arrive in the back seat of a SUV – campaign “advance” staff all around them.
Update: 5:28pm. Indianapolis Police Officer tells me Mourdock and his wife, Marilyn, have left their Indianapolis home for the rally. (No formal ETA.)
Update: 5:26pm. “This anticipation is killing me,” said volunteer Bridget Eaker.
Update: 5:23 pm. Mourdock aide, laughing: “He’s killing networks’ opportunity to carry him prime time.” A good point.
Update: 5:04 pm. Mourdock now 13 minutes late. “But fashionably so,” said an aide. “Usually more prompt as down-homer.”
Update: 4:34 pm. MSNBC calls the race for Mourdock with only 17% of votes counted.
Update: 1:33 pm. Literally empty voting booths for 46 minutes mid-afternoon today at the Indianapolis Seniors’ Center. Generally speaking, six-term incumbent U.S. Senator Dick Lugar will surely benefit from lower turnout. However, on way into this parking lot early this afternoon, two drivers said they were taking an alley as a shortcut to make sure they would beat the rush were there one.
“I don’t know any of my Republican friends who are checking the box next to Mourdock’s name. But I do know a few who’ll be ripping the lever off for him,” joked Tomas Bachtell, a resident of east central Indianapolis.
As for 72-year-old Opal Steirling, the lifelong liberal Democrat said she will take advantage of Indiana’s “open” primary right after her workout to cast a vote for Mourdock.
“At this point,” she said. “I don’t care how crazy it sounds. It’s time for Lugar to go.”More