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Lugar Gearing Up For 2012 Race

January 18, 2011

Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar -- one of the Tea Party's top targets in 2012 -- said Tuesday that he is already gearing up for his toughest re-election bid.

Speaking a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, Lugar said he is going ahead full steam with his re-election campaign. He added, however, that at this point, he doesn't know how difficult a challenge he faces.

"It's hard for me to evaluate how serious the threat is," he said, "but I take any opposition seriously."

Lugar's moderate voting record has made him a prime target for Tea Party activists. Recently, he has said that Congress should reinstate the assault weapons ban and opposed a moratorium on earmarks -- one of the top issues among the Tea Party right.

The Republican also said that he is planning a fundraiser on Friday to help pad his campaign coffers.

"Coincidentally, we have a very large fundraiser on Friday night, at least by Indiana standards," he said. "We hope to raise $320,000. We have several hundred people who are coming out very early."

When asked about the Tea Party, Lugar said the activists are generally angry with the government.

"I think the Tea Party people reflect a good number of people who are unhappy about a lot of things -- including myself and any office for that matter," Lugar said. "And cleaning the slate, they would feel that might be a good idea -- starting with the president."

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