Senator Richard Lugar won’t campaign for Richard Mourdock yet he is campaigning for another Republican, Attorney General Greg Zoeller. Lugar is staying out of the Senate race but he’s clearly not quitting politics. It helps make the point that his refusal to campaign for Mourdock is personal and intentional.
Just last Thursday Dick Lugar hosted a fundraiser at the Conrad Hotel for Greg Zoeller. Zoeller has distributed photos of it on his website and his facebook page showing Lugar delivering remarks, posing for pictures and working the crowd. We caught up with Zoeller by phone in Washington, DC. “I’ve supported him over the years,” said Zoeller, “so I was glad to have his help and would accept it again.”
For Lugar, it’s the return of a favor. Zoeller appeared in one of his ads before the May primary. But it comes at a time when others are trying to convince voters that Lugar and Mourdock hold similar views without the benefit of a Lugar campaign appearance. “Richard Mourdock is so much closer to Richard Lugar than the other gentleman,” said South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham at a Mourdock event yesterday.
It’s an argument that’s hurt by this this list of differences between Lugar and Mourdock that was still on the Internet today as Mourdock tries to downplay the need for a Lugar endorsement. “It has been the longstanding tradition of Senator Lugar which is fully his right,” said Mourdock yesterday, “to campaign or not campaign for whomever he likes to campaign for.”
Lugar gave Zoeller fundraising help but Zoeller says he needs to run on his own. “You can’t really borrow credibility from somebody else in this game,” he said. Yet that’s exactly what supporters of Richard Mourdock would like to see when it comes to winning the votes of Lugar Republicans.
The Mourdock campaign removed the webpage listing differences between Lugar and Mourdock after we brought it to their attention. They say it was an “orphan” link that they thought was taken down after the May primary.
The bottom line is that Mourdock was spelling out his differences with Lugar then and wants to spell his similarities with Lugar now.