Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock yesterday defeated 36-year Senate veteran Richard Lugar in the Hoosier State’s Republican primary. This Tea Party favorite who has defeated an establishment Republican has, unlike other such victors, a better than even shot of winning the seat for the GOP. Mourdock is very much in the mainstream of his state’s politics, an accomplished public official who has served on Vanderburgh County’s Board of Commissioners and in his current position.
His opponent, “the longest-serving Senator in Indiana’s history”, recently celebrated his 80th birthday and was first elected to public office when the 60-year-old Mourdock was 13. Lugar doesn’t seem to have maintained a residence in Indiana, the state he has represented in Washington since Barack Obama was in high school.
It does seem time for him to retire to spend time with his grandchildren.
Not only did Mourdock defeat an octogenarian legislator, but he did so by running on on the principles which secured Ronald Reagan’s rise, favoring a smaller federal government with fewer regulations.
Although “a lot of pundits have been prematurely writing the obituary to the Tea Party,” writes Philip Klein in the Washington Examiner, “Mourdock’s victory demonstrates that the movement still has a lot of power.” Indeed.
UPDATE: Jennifer Rubin echoes — and builds upon — my point:
At first blush this might seem to be a repeat of 2010: Diligent, moderate incumbent taken out by wide-eyed Tea Party loony. But Mourdock is no Sharron Angle or Christine O’Donnell. And Lugar had gotten out of touch with his constituents and had long ago ceased to be an effective reformer or constructive player in the Senate.
Read the whole thing.