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NRA backs Mourdock; Lugar ‘home’ appealed

– The National Rifle Association said Wednesday it rarely endorses candidates in primary elections.

“But I have to tell you, this decision was easy. Richard Mourdock is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, and Richard Lugar is not,” Chris Cox, chairman of the NRA Political Victory Fund, told reporters in a conference call.

Mourdock, the second-term state treasurer, will try to unseat Lugar, a senator since 1977, in the May 8 Republican primary election.

Mourdock said he filled out questionnaires to get the NRA’s endorsement. He received an A rating, Cox said, while Lugar got an F.

Lugar has shown “not only opposition but seeming contempt for gun owners,” Cox said.

He criticized Lugar for voting to confirm President Obama’s two nominees to the Supreme Court and for failing to sign friend-of-the-court briefs opposing handgun bans in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Cox also chided Lugar for having been endorsed in a previous election by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Cox said NRA members, including 80,000 in Indiana, are “loyal” and “savvy” voters.

David Willkie, political director for Lugar’s campaign, said in advance of the NRA’s endorsement of Mourdock that Lugar “strongly supports the Second Amendment right to bear arms.”

Meanwhile, an Indianapolis attorney announced Wednesday that he filed a lawsuit in a Marion County court on behalf of two people seeking to overturn the Indiana Election Commission’s recent ruling that Lugar is an Indiana resident.

Attorney Eric Bohnet said in a written statement that Lugar does not meet the U.S. Constitution’s requirement for senators to be inhabitants of the states that elect them. The lawsuit asks for an injunction to prevent election officials from printing ballots for the primary election until the case is resolved.

Lugar has lived in McLean, Va., since 1977. Two Indiana attorneys general have issued opinions stating congressmen do not give up their residency if they leave the state to fulfill their official duties.

bfrancisco@jg.net

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