After 36 years, Richard Lugar’s time in the U.S. Senate will come to an end. Lugar was handily beaten in Tuesday’s primary by state Treasurer Richard Mourdock.
Lugar had not faced a primary opponent since he was first elected in 1976. Mourdock brought that challenge with significant Tea Party backing — and the super PAC funding that came with it — and cruised to a sizeable victory in the Republican primary Tuesday.
Leading into Election Day, Lugar trailed in the polls and had largely been counted out by political analysts. The six-term incumbent was dogged in the campaign by questions about his Indiana residency and whether he was conservative enough for the far-right wing of the Republican Party.
In his concession speech, Lugar talked about his long service to Indiana and looked ahead to his hopes for the general election.
“Hoosiers deserve the best representation possible,” he said. “They deserve legislators who listen to the entire spectrum of citizen’s views and work to achieve consensus.”
Mourdock will face Democrat Joe Donnelly in November’s general election.
Read Lugar’s full speech below.
May 8, 2012
Hoosier Republican primary voters have chosen their candidate for the U.S. Senate. I congratulate my opponent on his victory in a hard fought race. I want to see a Republican in the White House, and I want to see my friend Mitch McConnell have a Republican majority in the Senate. I hope my opponent prevails in November to contribute to that Republican majority.
I am deeply grateful for the remarkable efforts of thousands of volunteers who devoted countless hours to my campaign. The enthusiasm of good friends and loyal supporters over many months was tremendously encouraging. I thank my campaign team, who made enormous personal sacrifices and never stopped working hard or seeking a path to victory. Most of all, I want to thank my loving wife, Char, our four sons – Mark, Bob, John, and David — and the entire Lugar family for their understanding, support, and love. Char and my family have been indispensible to every aspect of my public service from the Indianapolis School Board, onward.
My public service is not concluded. I look forward to what can be achieved in the Senate in the next eight months despite a very difficult national election atmosphere. First among my goals will be passing a good farm bill that saves taxpayers billions and gives farmers the best chance to prosper. I also will use this period to advance the work of the Nunn-Lugar program and other initiatives that benefit U.S. national security.
At the end of my term, I will look forward to new opportunities to serve Indiana and our nation. I will embrace projects where I can deliver the most benefit. I will continue to support the Nunn-Lugar program in every way that I can. I also want to build on my work related to nutrition and energy issues, both locally and globally.
I have no regrets about running for re-election. All of us should believe in the nobility of standing before the public and asking for their vote, even if doing so can be a very daunting task. I still counsel young people to consider elective public office, and I hope some listening to me tonight will do just that.
Serving the people of Indiana in the U.S. Senate has been the greatest honor of my public life. Hoosiers deserve the best representation possible. They deserve legislators who listen to the entire spectrum of citizen’s views and work to achieve consensus. They deserve legislators who, each day, go to work thinking about how they can solve problems that matter to Hoosiers. I am proud of the solutions we have brought to problems over the years and the initiatives we have undertaken to build Indiana and to protect our country.
We are experiencing deep political divisions in our society right now. These divisions have stalemated progress in critical areas. But these divisions are not insurmountable. I believe that people of good will – regardless of party – can work together for the benefit of the country.
I remain optimistic about the future of Indiana and the United States. The news media and political leaders spend a great deal of time talking about what is broken in our country. To some degree, that is the nature of the business. But we should also have confidence that the unique American experiment is alive and well. Our political system still can work.
We possess the resources, human talent, and entrepreneurial energy to sustain our status as the economic envy of the world. Our culture still is the global reference point for progress among modern societies. People from all over the world still want to come here to study, live, and invest. And we still enjoy unprecedented freedoms that billions of people in our world can only dream about. The task before us is to come together as Americans to sustain the American dream at home, while protecting our security and advancing our leadership abroad.
I cherish the confidence that each of you has placed in me, and I urge you to join me in a determination to continue to serve our country and our state. God bless each of you and God bless America.