Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., received polite applause Sunday from a few hundred people gathered in a north-side parking lot.
Lugar wasnt in attendance, although there was a life-size photo cutout of him with a sign around its neck: Dangerous Republicrat Career Politician.
His Republican primary-election opponent, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, had asked the crowd to show its respect for Lugars decades of public service – but also to campaign and vote for Mourdock on May 8.
In respecting Mr. Lugar, we certainly dont need to agree with all of his opinions, Mourdock said.
Mourdock has accused Lugar, the six-term incumbent, of being too moderate, a claim Lugar regularly rebuts.
Mourdock said Sunday he was proud to be among the flag-waving, freedom-loving, Constitution-minded, life-protecting, hardworking, Bible-carrying, Second Amendment-honoring Americans outside National College along North Clinton Street near Washington Center Road.
Tea Party Express of Sacramento, Calif., organized the rally as part of its bus tour of states where it has endorsed Senate candidates.
Volunteer for Richard Mourdocks campaign if you havent already. Go knock on doors. He cant do this without you, Amy Kremer, the groups chairwoman, instructed audience members, some of whom wore Mourdock-for-Senate T-shirts and waved Dont Tread on Me banners, American flags and Retire Lugar signs.
Kremer said Tea Party Express advocates fiscal responsibility, limited government and free markets. Appearing with her at the rally were singers, a comedian and a rapper.
Asked for comment about the event, Lugar spokesman Andy Fisher said in an email: Hoosiers have a clear choice in this election between Senator Lugar – a trusted, thoughtful, conservative who fights for Indiana – and Richard Mourdock, an inconsistent conservative surrounded by growing legal and ethical questions. Hoosiers want a conservative Senator they can trust and thats Dick Lugar.
Those questions include the fact Mourdock had received homestead property tax exemptions on two houses he owns instead of one, something that Lugars campaign has pounded on recently. Mourdocks campaign has said the second exemption was an error by the Marion County auditor.
Lugars campaign also has called out Mourdock on discrepancies between his state and federal financial disclosure reports. Mourdock said last week the reporting requirements were different.
At Sundays rally, Mourdock said a speech that then-Senate candidate Abraham Lincoln gave in 1858 about slavery – A house divided against itself cannot stand – holds true today in regard to the size and reach of the federal government.
Half of Americans think government should be there to give them what they want when they want it when they feel they need it from whomever it has to come, Mourdock said, while the rest – such as those at the rally – favor a conservative, limited government.
He later said, I am more frustrated with Republicans in Washington than I am with Democrats – one of his biggest applause lines.
Mourdock and Lugar are scheduled to speak this evening at the Allen County Republican Partys Lincoln Day dinner at Cerutis Summit Park. They also will be at a reception before the meal.
The GOP primary winner will face Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, in the Nov. 6 general election. Donnelly is unopposed in the Democratic primary.