The leader of Term Limits America PAC said Monday the group had no trouble deciding where to make its first congressional endorsement of this election cycle -- the Republican primary-election race for Senate.
“For one thing, it’s the clearest cut,” U.S. Term Limits President Philip Blumel said. “This one we look at as sort of a mini-referendum on term limits. It’s so stark.”
Virginia-based Term Limits America PAC is backing two-term state Treasurer Richard Mourdock in his challenge to six-term Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., in the May 8 GOP primary. The political action committee is giving Mourdock $5,000 in campaign contributions, the maximum allowed.
Mourdock has advocated for a constitutional amendment that would restrict senators to two six-year terms and House members to three two-year terms. He has signed a pledge to that effect with U.S. Term Limits.
“I think 12 years and you ought to move on; time to be done,” he said in the offices of The Journal Gazette.
“Polls show 75 percent of the voters in this country support the concept of congressional term limits,” Blumel said.
Mourdock said he did not seek a third straight term as a Vanderburgh County commissioner in 2002.
“Everyone said, ‘Run again, you’ll be a cinch.’ I said, ‘No, I believe in terms limits,’.” he recalled.
Pat Boone, a popular singer in the 1950s and ’60s, campaigned for Lugar in Monticello on Monday. Lugar’s campaign said Boone pointed out that Lugar voted for President Reagan’s policies in the 1980s more often than anyone in Congress.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, was elected in 1976, the same year as Lugar, and he faces a primary opponent next month. Saying his PAC might get involved in that race, Blumel noted that Hatch voted in favor of a term-limits resolution this year while most senators, including Lugar, voted against it.
Opponents of term limits contend they would force good legislators to leave office too early.
“Not everyone shares the same definition of what makes a good politician,” Blumel said. “And there’s no one so indispensable that they should be able to hang on to a job in a series of non-competitive elections.”
Mourdock is Lugar’s first challenger since the 2000 election and first GOP primary rival since 1976. The winner takes on three-term Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, in the Nov. 6 general election.
Blumel said he has no problem with former congressmen running again. U.S. Term Limits last month praised David McIntosh, a GOP House candidate in Indiana’s 5th District, for promising to support term limits even though he served three terms in the 6th District in the 1990s.
“Probably the most certain results of term limits is competitive elections, because it creates open seats,” Blumel said. “When someone leaves and comes back, I don’t consider that to be a terrible thing.”
Also Monday, Lugar’s campaign released an Internet video showing three Indiana military veterans expressing their admiration for Lugar. And the campaign announced that Nappanee Mayor Larry Thompson had become the 46th Hoosier mayor, town board president or former mayor to endorse Lugar.