|Sen. Richard Lugar|
First, you had the breaking news that Lugar billed taxpayers $70,000 for staying in hotel rooms in Indiana. It's illegal to do that when the Senate is in session. Lugar agreed to pay back $4,500. Apparently he believes the taxpayers are cool with paying $65,500 for hotel rooms when Lugar is in Indiana, but the legislature is in session. He'd be wrong.
Second, the you had the pro-life endorsement of Lugar's opponent, State Treasurer Richard Mourdock. This comes on the heels of the NRA's endorsement of Mourdock. Abortion and gun rights are two major voting issues in the GOP primary.
Third, this morning on C-Span, former Senator Arlen Specter, a liberal Republican turned Democrat, gave an impromptu endorsement of Lugar's re-election to an Indiana caller. That's not something Lugar wants when his conservative credentials are already being questioned.
All in all, a terrible day for the Lugar campaign.
What makes matters worse for Lugar is that he insists on engaging in a court battle over his voter registration. Instead of doing the politically and legally smart thing of ending the story by getting a residence he could claim he would return to once his service as Senator ended, Lugar insists on continuing to vote using Elizabeth Hughes' house as his residence. That's not even mentioning Lugar using the Hughes' home at 3200 Highwoods Court as his "residence" to get a driver's license and pay taxes. When I told an attorney tonight that Lugar was putting down on his federal and state tax forms an address of a home he sold 35 years ago, the attorney was dumbfounded as to how Lugar could get away with doing something that would get ordinary people prosecuted. Yeah, we all would like to know that.
Even if Lugar manages to eek out a win over Mourdock, I think he'll be so weakened that he won't be able to defeat Democratic Congressman Joe Donnelly.