(CBS News) How does a senator once described as “the George Washington of modern Indiana” find himself so unpopular he might get kicked out of office?
That’s the question Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana is asking right about now as he faces the political fight of his life against state Treasurer Richard Mourdock in today’s primary.
The longest-serving senator in Indiana’s history, Lugar blames his weakened standing on the influence of money in modern politics.
“Thank goodness the founder of our country did not face millions of dollars of negative advertising,” he told CBS affiliate WISH-TV last week.
First elected to the Senate in 1976, the 80-year-old former Indianapolis mayor became a prime target for conservative groups this year seeking to extend the Tea Party’s influence in Congress and purge the Republican party of its moderates. They argue the senator simply doesn’t represent his constituents anymore.