Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., hopes that Indiana voters in Tuesday’s hotly contested primary will sway in favor of his ranking member, Republican Richard Lugar, with whom he’s forged a close bond.
With state Treasurer Richard Mourdock on the verge of defeating Lugar in the Republican primary in Indiana, Kerry said that Lugar "brings enormous stature and experience and intellectual ability” to the chamber and displays “a willingness to look for what’s best for America.”
“He is not focused on partisan politics, he is not focused on the ideology—he is focused on real, commonsense bipartisan approaches to how do you protect the United States of America,” Kerry said in an interview with National Journal on Tuesday in his Senate office. “He has singlehandedly done an enormous job of accountability on nuclear weapons. The world is safer because of Dick Lugar. And I hope the citizens of Indiana will take that into account today.”
A group of Washington-based ideological interest groups led by the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, and the National Rifle Association have backed Mourdock in the GOP primary, to punish Lugar for his purported betrayals of conservative principles. But Lugar has defended his record of bipartisan collaboration.
After 36 years in the Senate, Lugar is Indiana’s longest-serving senator, ever. “It’s important to have some people around here who have been here a while, who have an institutional memory, who know what’s been tried before and what hasn’t and what works and what doesn’t and why,” Kerry said. “And I don’t think we want to lose that.”