By Rob Janicki
Today, Tuesday, May 8th, is going to be an important day in Indiana political history and it will have an impact on not only Indiana politics, but also the national political scene.
The Indiana Republican Party is engaged in a primary contest between incumbent U.S. Senator, Richard Lugar and Indiana State Treasurer, Richard Mourdock. Mourdock, backed by the young Tea Party movement, is attempting to dethrone Lugar, a six term moderate Republican, sometimes referred to as a RINO.
[...] The early voting period at county election offices ended at noon Monday. State figures show that through Friday about 89,000 people had cast ballots for Tuesday's primary.
That's down some 40 percent from the same time ahead of the 2008 primary when Indiana's record for primary voter turnout was shattered after Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton targeted the state in their presidential campaigns. [...]
The importance of this election can not be underestimated. The winner, no matter whether Lugar or Mourdock, is expected to go on to win the general election this November. So this primary is a test between the old Republican establishment and the young conservative Tea Party movement, which we haven't heard a lot from since the 2010 election cycle that resulted in Republicans taking over the House by a wide margin. And, the Tea Party contributed a significant number of the new Republican House members.
Recent polling has Mourdock with a slight lead over Lugar, who has, in desperation, literally reached out to Democrats and Independents to vote for him.
This primary may foretell the strength of the Tea Party going into the November general election cycle.