For the moment, Dick Lugar can’t even vote to save himself. A local election board ruled Thursday that the six-term senator has abandoned his Indiana home and cannot cast a ballot in the state he represents. The Indiana Republican is up for re-election this year and faces a conservative challenger in the state’s May 8 primary. “I don’t want to cast aspersions on anyone,” Lugar told reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday, “but there has been a rather concerted campaign by self-appointed persons who believe this is the best way to settle the Indiana election.” The two-to-one party-line decision by the Marion County Election Board has important legal implications, but also resurrects the crippling narrative that Lugar is disconnected from Indiana, where he hasn’t owned a home in more than three decades.
After reviewing the complaint submitted by Lugar’s political opponents, the board ruled that there is “substantial reason to believe a non-criminal election law violation has occurred and … the Lugars have abandoned the 3200 Highwoods Court residence and thus forfeited their respective abilities to lawfully vote.”
The remedy appears to be straightforward: Submit a new voter registration form by April 9 with a new address to which Lugar has some ties. But Lugar’s camp trashed the finding as an “outrage” ginned up by Democrats and GOP rival Richard Mourdock. “It is an outrage that Indiana Democrats and Treasurer Mourdock’s camp are happy to waste taxpayer money in tying up the courts. They apparently don’t see any path to victory at the ballot box, so they keep maneuvering in hopes they can avoid competing head-on with Sen. Lugar,” said spokesman Andy Fisher. “Unfortunately, the Democrats on the County Election Board and Treasurer Mourdock’s supporters are attempting to tarnish Senator Lugar and his family, and deprive them of their fundamental right to vote.”