Auto Dealer Passes on Dick Lugar Challenge, Clears Field for Richard Mourdock

Posted January 3, 2012 at 10:40am

Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock received a big political boost this week after wealthy auto dealer Bob Thomas announced he would stay out of the GOP primary against Sen. Dick Lugar.

Thomas has been mulling a Senate bid for several weeks, but he told Howey Politics Indiana on Monday that he decided against it.

“We have looked at this thing from every which way,” Thomas told the insider newsletter. “It doesn’t make sense to get in. We don’t see a chance to win. I don’t want to be a second candidate against an incumbent.”

His decision means Mourdock will likely have a clear shot against Lugar in the May primary. The state filing deadline is Feb. 21.

Thomas also said he would not endorse Lugar or Mourdock.

In 2010, Thomas spent $600,000 out of his own pocket to challenge then-Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.). Thomas lost his primary bid to Souder by about 14 points in what was a crowded GOP field.