The Fix: Richard Lugar

Dick Lugar and the biggest primary upsets in Senate history

If the polls are to be believed, Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar will likely join some very rare company on Tuesday, becoming just the seventh senator in 30 years to lose his party’s nomination for reelection.

And Lugar’s tenure in the Senate — 36 years — would make it one of the more notable upsets in Senate history.

But where would it rank in the list of all-time upsets? Below, we rank the biggest primary upsets of an incumbent senator since 1950, including a potential loss by Lugar.

(Side note: Overall, about three dozen senators who have lost primaries over that span, with the vast majority of them occurring in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.)

Did we miss any? Oversell any? The comments section awaits.

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Mourdock claims lead over Lugar in Indiana poll by Citizens United

Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock has taken a slight lead on Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) in the state’s Republican Senate primary, according to a new poll from a Mourdock-aligned group.

U.S. Senate candidates running in the GOP primary, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.,and Richard Mourdock, left, participate in a debate Wednesday, April 11, 2012, in Indianapolis. (Darron Cummings - AP)

The poll, conducted by GOP pollster Fritz Wenzel for Mourdock-supporting group Citizens United, shows Mourdock at 44 percent and Lugar at 39 percent. The poll has a margin of error of about 4 percent.

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Richard Lugar targeted by new ads from conservative groups

The air wars have officially commenced in the Indiana Senate race, with the National Rifle Association and Club for Growth launching new ads against Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Lugar responding in kind with an ad attacking opponent Richard Mourdock.

A yard signs calling for voters to "retire" Sen. Richard Lugar stands along the road in New Palestine, Ind., Friday, March 30, 2012. Lugar, running for his seventh term in the U.S. Senate, is facing one of his toughest election battles in the Republican primary against state Treasurer Richard Mourdock. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
The tone of the campaign has taken a sharp turn for the negative with just less than one month remaining in the contest.

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Sen. Richard Lugar next target of Club for Growth

Sen. Richard Lugar’s (R-Ind.) path to reelection just got tougher, with the conservative Club for Growth PAC endorsing his primary opponent, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

The Club, which generally endorses against one or two GOP incumbents every election cycle, has made Lugar its first incumbent target of the 2012 election cycle.

The endorsement is a welcome piece of news for Mourdock’s campaign, which has thus far struggled to raise money. The big advantage to having the Club’s backing is its large network of wealthy donors, who have flooded previous endorsees' campaigns with hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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