Indiana's long-serving Sen. Dick Lugar says that he is steeled for a primary battle in 2012 with the Tea Party. "I take any opposition seriously," says the Republican leader on agricultural and foreign policy issues. [See who gives Lugar campaign cash.]
Given warning by the Tea Party's impact in the 2010 Delaware and Utah primaries, and their effort to block new Indiana Sen. Dan Coats's election, Lugar says that he is preparing earlier than ever before, and probably earlier than any other Indiana senator in history. For example, he conducted a poll last November that found him very popular in the state and this Friday he is hosting a fund raiser expected to earn his campaign $320,000.
The fund raiser comes a day before the Tea Party in Indiana meets to discuss ways to limit the number of candidates who might challenge Lugar in the primary. "We're coming out very early," says Lugar. Meeting with reporters this morning over breakfast, Lugar also says that the Tea Party represents a segment of the public who feel that Washington and the world have let them down. Tea Party supporters, he says, are "angry about how things have turned out for them." He noted that many members are unemployed or face severe government regulations on their businesses. "In essence they are unhappy about life in America."
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