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Analysts: November Voter Turnout Key To Indiana Senate Race

Richard Lugar

Photo: WFIU News

Analysts appear split on whether Richard Lugar's Tuesday primary election loss represents a pickup possibility for Democrats.

Democrats currently control the United States Senate, but only by a slim margin. Though some pundits have said Richard Mourdock’s primary win Tuesday night could make it easier for the Democrats to pick up the seat, others aren’t so sure.

Richard Lugar’s six-term run in the Senate was given an endpoint Tuesday night, after Richard Mourdock defeated Lugar for the Senate GOP nomination. Mourdock says he may be more conservative than the state’s senior senator, but contends Joe Donnelly is more liberal than Indiana voters, which he says could fare in his favor.

“The first order of business as a Senator is that we have the leadership of the Republican caucus that’s listening to conservatives,” Mourdock says.  “So we’re going to work hard I know that we’ve gotten a number of calls already from existing sitting senators.”

Indiana University Political Science Professor Marjorie Hershey it may not be a case of the state having more liberal or more conservative voters, however.   Instead, she says voter turnout will make all the difference for candidates in November.

“I think that the two parties are not only very polarized there also very closely competitive right now,” she says. “In terms of party identification and in terms of the kinds of social groups that support the two parties we’re really pretty balanced. The percentage of Democrats the percentage of Republicans nationally are very similar and that means that competition is going to be especially intense right now.”

She adds if the Republicans lose the Indiana Senate seat, it could be more difficult for them to gain control of the Senate.

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