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Lugar ruled ineligible to vote in Indiana

at 05:30 PM ET, 03/15/2012

Lugar can’t vote in his own state; three statewide Republicans file for Maine Senate seat; the bungled case against Ted Stevens; and a budding sex scandal in Minnesota.

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WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:

* The Marion County (Ind.) Election Board has ruled Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) ineligible to vote in his former home precinct. The two Democrats on the three-person board ruled that Lugar has abandoned his residence there. Lugar spokesman Andy Fisher said the senator has “scrupulously” followed Indiana law, which allows an elected official to retain residency while leaving the state to do the state’s business. But the situation may be more PR distraction than final word; elections officials are suggesting Lugar could simply register to vote in another county where a relative lives or at his family farm. Lugar previously survived a challenge to his ability to run for reelection, which cited his long-term residence in Virginia. He faces a tough primary with state Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

* Maine state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, state Attorney General William Schneider and secretary of state Charlie Summers have all filed for the Republican primary in the open Maine Senate race. On the Democratic side, former secretary of state Matt Dunlap filed Wednesday and state Sen. Cynthia Dill was set to file Thursday, which is the filing deadline. The question now is whether Democratic leaders will embrace one of the Democrats or former governor Angus King (I). If they back a Democrat, it could split the vote and open the door to Republicans.

* A new report rips apart federal prosecutors’ conduct in former senator Ted Stevens’s (R-Alaska) 2008 ethics trial. Investigator Henry Schuelke wrote that the case was “permeated by the systematic concealment of significant exculpatory evidence which would have independently corroborated Senator Stevens’s defense and his testimony, and seriously damaged the testimony and credibility of the government’s key witness.” Stevens was convicted shortly before the 2008 election and went on to defeat, but the conviction was later voided by Attorney General Eric Holder. The senator died in a plane crash in 2010.

* See if you can decipher this quote from Republican West Virginia governor candidate Bill Maloney: “If we’d fix our courts and our tort reform issues, we’d stand a lot better chance of getting a cracker than we would be in passing this huge bill that we just pull our pants down to get a cracker, when everybody should be getting the same tax breaks,” Maloney said on a statewide radio show. Democrats, predictably, are criticizing him.

* The Post’s Greg Sargent reports that gay marriage supporters may push for their issue to become part of the Democratic Party’s platform at this summer’s national party convention. The Huffington Post recently reported that Democratic officials were pleading with gay rights advocates for patience on the issue.

WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T MISS:

* New Mexico Lt. Gov. John Sanchez (R), who recently dropped out of the state’s open Senate race, has endorsed his GOP opponent, former congresswoman Heather Wilson. Wilson still faces a primary with businessman Greg Sowards, and the race is getting a little punchy.

* Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) has turned down a proposal from Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Neb.) to keep outside groups from spending money on their race this year. Heller dismissed Berkley’s call for a mutual ban as a “sideshow.”

* A new poll in the Democratic primary to face Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.) shows liberal Ilya Sheyman leading Blue Dog Brad Schneider by double digits. The Public Policy Polling survey, conducted for the Sheyman-supporting Progressive Change Campaign Committee and MoveOn.org, shows Sheyman up 43 percent to 27 percent. Dold’s seat is a top Democratic target.

* There’s a budding sex scandal in the Minnesota state Senate. Former state Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb says he was fired for having an affair with a female senator, but that female staffers who have had affairs with male legislators have gotten a pass.An he’s ready to name names. “He intends to depose all of the female legislative staff employees who participated in intimate relationships, as well as the legislators who were party to those intimate relationships, in support of his claims of gender discrimination,” Brodkorb’s attorney said.

* President Obama got some ribbing for picking a few swing states for his Final Four, but he’s got nothing on Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.). The frontrunner in the Indiana governor’s race picked 4th-seeded Indiana and 10th-seeded Purdue (based in Lafayette, Ind.) for his national title game, and two teams from neighboring states — Michigan State and Ohio State — for his other Final Four teams (one assumes, in case Indiana residents near the border root for those teams). Pence doesn’t do a third Indiana school any favors, though; he’s got Notre Dame getting bounched in the second round by Duke.

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