VALPARAISO, Ind. — President Barack Obama and his presumptive Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, can take a few lessons from veteran Sen. Richard Lugar's loss in Indiana's GOP primary.
Voters are unhappy with incumbents, an ominous sign for the Democratic president in a GOP-leaning state he won four years ago and for nervous lawmakers, many of them running in newly redrawn districts.
Tea party-backed Richard Mourdock's easy win over the six-term Senate fixture also illustrates the deep divide that persists in the Republican base and underscores the thorny task still ahead for Romney, and other GOP candidates hoping the party will unite in time to defeat Obama on Nov. 6.
"We are experiencing deep political divisions in our society right now," Lugar, 80, one of the nation's longest-serving senators, said in a statement after Tuesday's election results were known. "These divisions have stalemated progress in critical areas. But these divisions are not insurmountable."
The loss of Lugar — who boasted of strong conservative credentials but was lambasted by critics for working with Democrats — also highlights the degree to which dealmakers are becoming a rarity on a Capitol Hill often consumed by partisan gridlock. He follows Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, a moderate known for bipartisanship, in leaving the Senate at year's end.