Indiana and North Carolina Elections
Today, Indiana and North Carolina hold their Republican Presidential primary elections. But those are decidedly uninteresting when the nominee is already essentially ordained.
No, today’s interesting election stories are further down on the ballots.
The Hoover Hoosiers are also voting in their United States Senate primary. Incumbent Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), who took office at the same time as President Jimmy Carter, is defending his seat against challenger Richard Mourdock, who is currently the State Treasurer.
Lugar is the target of accusations that he has become too liberal to represent Indiana’s conservative values. How accurate is this?
In 1977, when he took office, Lugar’s DW-NOMINATE score was +0.341, appreciably more conservative than the average Republican Senator’s +0.233. Since then, his DW-NOMINATE score has consistently lowered; as of the 111th Congress, his score was +0.241. That’s still more conservative than the average Republican Senator in the 95th Congress, but far less conservative than the +0.448 score of the average Republican Senator in the 111th Congress. In fact, you have probably noticed that Lugar’s 1977 score is to the left of the average Republican Senator of today. It’s also to the left of +0.3, the value predicted by the state’s Partisan Voting Index.
In the 111th Congress, Senator Lugar was the seventh most liberal Republican Senator. With the departures of Senators Arlin Spector and George Voinovich, he became the fifth most liberal Republican in the Senate.
It seems, then, that the accusations are accurate. Polls indicate that Mourdock has about a ten-point lead over Lugar, and so it is likely that Indiana’s senior Senator will fall today.
Mourdock as been endorsed by Tea Party favorites. Will his Tea Party credentials help or hurt him in November? The depends on a large number of factors, and it’s too early to see how they will impact the final outcome. But there are some echoes here of Nevada’s 2010 Senate race. We’ll explore this topic further at a later date.
North Carolina has two interesting votes.
Amendment 1, if passed, would amend the state Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage. It would also prohibit same-sex civil unions, something of which it appears most North Carolinians are unaware. When polled, a majority of those who believe it only applies to marriage support Amendment 1, while a majority of those who are aware of the civil-union ban oppose it; a majority of North Carolinians are unopposed to single-sex civil unions. Yet when asked about Amendment 1 without context, a majority of those polled support it.
It may come as a surprise to many Amendment 1 supporters to find that an unintended consequence of this law could be to invalidate many wills, trusts, and powers of attorney between unmarried heterosexual couples, including those involving custody and visitation rights.
Oddly, the wife of one of the amendment’s authors reportedly claimed that her husband drafted the amendment to protect the “Caucasian race”.
Recent polls suggest that Amendment 1 will pass by a double-digit margin.
The other race is for Governor. Democratic incumbent Bev Perdue decided not to run for reëlection, so both sides have primaries. For the Democrats, Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton has an edge over former Congressman Bob Etheridge, who represented Congressional District 2. The Republicans’ former Charlotte Mayor (who lost to Perdue, by 4.5 points, in 2008) Pat McCrory has a commanding lead over the others in polls for that primary election. This far out, McCrory has a bit of an edge over Dalton, though that may tighten up between now and November.
- Veteran Senator Richard Lugar Faces Biggest Challenge Of Career (chicago.cbslocal.com)
- Republican Dick Lugar, an American Patriot (ronscoffeeandchocolates.wordpress.com)
- GOP rival hopes to end Indiana Sen. Lugar’s career (miamiherald.com)
- Are the Wingnuts Wrong to Dump Lugar? (polentical.com)
- Richard Mourdock poised to topple Richard Lugar in Indiana Senate GOP primary (dailykos.com)
- In Indiana, tea party rattles a career of political pragmatism (mcclatchydc.com)