Club for Growth launches ad against Dick Lugar

The Club for Growth is up with its first television ad against Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar in what appears to be an increasingly perilous primary campaign for the longtime incumbent.

The fiscally conservative Club, whose political action committee endorsed state Treasurer Richard Mourdock back in February, is launching what is technically an issue ad that hits Lugar for his three-plus decades in Congress, as well as his votes on tax issues, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) bailout and the “Bridge to Nowhere” earmark.

“Call Dick Lugar,” the ad closes. “Tell him: No more tax hikes.”

The Club for Growth, which has targeted a handful of Republican incumbents over the years in primaries, is clearly making Lugar a focal point of its 2012 campaign. According to an ad buyer, the group reserved half a million dollars worth of ad time last week. Other reports say the group is planning to spend even more than that.

The Club did not immediately respond to questions about how much money it was spending on the ad.

As we noted Friday, Lugar has had a bad couple weeks, including a local election board declaring him ineligible to vote in his home county (because, it rules, he doesn’t actually live there) and, late last week, the revelation that he improperly billed taxpayers for hotel stays in Indianapolis during recess.

Recent polling has shown a tight race between Lugar and Mourdock.

Meanwhile, Lugar is up with his own ad, in which he plays up his opposition to President Obama’s health care bill.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

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