INDIANAPOLIS - When Richard Lugar was first elected to the U.S. Senate, Jimmy Carter was elected President. But, after six terms, Indiana's senior senator is facing by far the toughest primary challenge of his career and, perhaps, the toughest election overall.
Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, with a great deal of support from the Tea Party, has taken the lead from Lugar in recent polls. It's touched off some nasty ad wars and even led a dyed-in-the-wool Republican like Lugar to appeal to independents and Democrats to vote for him in Tuesday's GOP primary, since Indiana is an open primary state.
Polls do not show wide dissatisfaction with Lugar's job performance. Rather, Mourdock seems to have built his campaign on a message that Lugar might not be conservative enough and after 36 years in office, Lugar has served enough already.
Lugar has been running on his record, his seniority, and most of the positive changes in Indiana in the past four decades, many of which he has been a part of in some way.
Before the Senate, Lugar served two terms as mayor of Indianapolis. His supporters say 44 years of serving the Hoosier State ought to be enough to earn him another term in Washington if he wants it, and he does.
But this is 2012 when having "been there" could be just the fuel the opposition needs to inspire voters to endorse a change.
The polls are open from 6 a.m. till 6 p.m. and we will have the results on 9 News and WCPO.com as soon as the first votes are counted.