TPM Reader BI checks in from on the ground in Indiana …
Maybe surprisingly, there wasn’t a lot of drama around this race on either side. Lugar’s campaign seemed to just be going through the motions. Maybe partly because they haven’t had to run a competitive race since Lugar’s first win in 1976 (their attempt to build a ground game was pitiful), but I also got the feeling that Lugar’s heart wasn’t in the kind of charge he’d have to make to the right to stave off Mourdock.
Mourdock had a much better ground game (Retire Lugar signs outnumbered Lugar signs by hundreds to one) but it felt like they knew this one was in the bag before the race began. There was none of the civil war feeling that existed a couple of years ago when Stutzman fought Coats for the nomination or that I’ve heard in other states like Utah. I can’t call this a win for the tea party over the state GOP establishment because it never really felt like a fight.
The most interesting thing I’ve seen in this primary is that someone is dumping a ton of cash into the Republican races for the state house. There are state senate primary candidates running professionally produced TV spots and mailers I usually see late in general election contests for US House seats. The spots and mailers aren’t coming from third-party groups, this is money going straight to the candidates and they’re all very, very conservative.
With Mike Pence the overwhelming favorite to win the governor’s race, I wonder if someone like the Koch brothers is setting up Indiana to be the next Wisconsin?