Another Republican Mulling Primary Against Dick Lugar

Posted November 17, 2011 at 11:01pm

A wealthy Indiana Republican is reportedly thinking about entering the primary to challenge Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.).

Auto dealer Bob Thomas is making calls about a bid and intends to make a final decision after the Thanksgiving holiday, Howey Politics Indiana, a local politics newsletter, reported this week.

Lugar already faces a tough primary challenge from state Treasurer Richard Mourdock. A Thomas bid could boost the six-term Senator’s chances of winning re-election by splitting the anti-Lugar vote in the May GOP primary.

Mourdock initially garnered a great deal of attention and support when he kicked off his bid against Lugar, but the challenger’s campaign struggled with fundraising. Mourdock had only $292,000 in the bank at the end of September, while Lugar had $3.8 million.

If there’s one thing Thomas could bring to the race, it’s cash. Thomas dumped almost $600,000 of his own money into his failed primary challenge against then-Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) last year. He came in second, trailing Souder by about 14 points, in a four-way primary.

After the primary, Souder resigned following his admission that he had an extramarital affair with a part-time staffer. Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R) succeeded Souder.