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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Last modified: Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lugar-Mourdock contest: IU experts available to discuss Indiana's GOP Senate primary

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Editors: For insights and news sources for election coverage, visit and its links to views from Indiana University experts in politics, media and culture. Contact Steve Hinnefeld at IU Communications, 812-856-3488 or, for more information.

Experts discuss the following topics related to the Indiana Republican Senate primary race:

Incumbent Lugar still favored
What are the points of debate?
Moderation a virtue for 'courageous minds'
The influence of money

April 25, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- As the Republican primary race between Sen. Richard Lugar and challenger Richard Mourdock, the Indiana state treasurer, begins to heat up, the eyes of conservative and moderate groups, national Super PACs and political reporters have turned to Indiana. Faculty experts at Indiana University offer their views of the race. Election Day for Indiana primaries is May 8.

Incumbent Lugar still favored.

Leslie Lenkowsky, a professor of nonprofit management and social entrepreneurship in the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs, who was appointed by President George W. Bush to lead the Corporation on National and Community Service, believes the results on Election Day will be clear.

"Ultimately, Sen. Lugar will win," he says, offering several reasons:

Lenkowsky adds, however, that Mourdock will appeal to conservatives who want to see change in Washington, D.C. "He has positioned himself as someone who is willing to challenge policies he believes are wrong for the country," he says. "Since many conservatives feel a lot of policies are moving the United States in the wrong direction, they admire Mourdock's willingness to take a stand."

To speak with Lenkowsky, call 812-855-4072 or email For a video of Lenkowsky talking about American elections and the GOP presidential contest in its earlier stages, click here. Top

What are the points of debate?

Andrew Downs, assistant professor of political science and director of the Mike Downs Center on Indiana Politics at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, offers his predictions of what will be the focus of the campaign disagreements:

To speak with Downs, call 260-481-6691 or email, or contact Susan Alderman at 260-481-6165 or for assistance. Top

Moderation a virtue for 'courageous minds.'

The Lugar-Mourdock contest raises questions about what it means to be a moderate. According to Aurelian Craiutu, associate professor in the Department of Political Science in the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington, the conventional image is that moderation is an ambiguous virtue, too vague to be properly defined or analyzed. At the same time, moderation is a touchstone of contemporary political regimes, since no parties can properly function without compromise, bargaining and moderation, and ordinary citizens everywhere are by and large moderate in their views and actions.

"Moderates do not lack political vision," Craiutu says, "and often times it is more difficult to be and act like a moderate than a radical or extremist."

To speak with Craiutu, email him at or contact Steve Hinnefeld at IU Communications, 812-856-3488 or Top

The influence of money.

Campaign finance reports at the end of the first quarter of 2012 showed Lugar with almost six times as much money as Mourdock. But Super PACs complicate the picture, says Marjorie Hershey, a professor of political science in the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington.

Whether creating public fatigue of campaigns or confusing knowledge of candidates, negative ads are effective at changing poll numbers in a close race, Hershey says. "Unfortunately, ads contribute to making the race harsh, negative and disappointing for all but the most intense partisans," she says.

To speak with Hershey, call 812-856-6308 or email To see a video of Hershey speaking about her research on elections and campaigns, click here. Top

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