A coalition of tea party groups hoping to unseat Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., said Tuesday it has firmed up plans for its Sept. 24 convention.
Delegates will meet in Greenfield to vote in a straw poll of Senate candidates for the 2012 Republican primary election.
The same day, nine representatives of convention organizer Hoosiers for Conservative Senate – one from each congressional district – will endorse a candidate based on the straw-poll results.
The convention will begin at 10 a.m. at J.J. Ricks Centre for the Arts.
State Treasurer Richard Mourdock is running against Lugar in the GOP primary next May. State Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, has said he is considering joining the race.
Rep. Joe Donnelly, R-2nd, is the lone Democratic candidate for the Senate seat occupied by Lugar since 1977.
Monica Boyer of Warsaw, co-chairwoman of Hoosiers for Conservative Senate, said Tuesday in an email that each tea party group in Indiana will be allowed to send two voting representatives to the convention. All must be preregistered.
Boyer said she expects a turnout similar to that at a January meeting in Tipton County.
There, about 70 tea party groups sent representatives to sign a letter urging Lugar not to seek re-election to another six-year term.
Boyer said in a statement that Lugar and Mourdock have been asked to participate in a vetting questionnaire process. Mourdock has enthusiastically agreed to participate, she said, but Lugar has not responded to the invitation.
Noblesville resident Greg Fettig, co-chairman of Hoosiers for Conservative Senate, said in the convention announcement, Never before has the TEA Party anywhere in the nation worked in such a coordinated and cooperative effort on a singular task in the name of restoring constitutional conservatism and a heartland common sense in Washington.
He and Boyer said the word tea in tea party should be capitalized because it is an acronym for Taxed Enough Already.
A website for Hoosiers for Conservative Senate identifies the coalitions issues as immigration, gun rights, health care, judicial nominations and the U.S.-Russian treaty on nuclear-arms reduction.