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Tracy James
IU Communications

Steve Hinnefeld
IU Communications

Expert: Indiana Republican primary an important test for Tea Party

Editors: The Indiana primary elections take place on May 8. The highest-profile race has been between U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar and the challenger for his Senate seat, Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, both Republicans. Additional insights about this race can be found here. Indiana University political experts provide a range of insights related to this presidential election season at

May 4, 2012

Tuesday's Republican primary in Indiana will be a significant test of the Tea Party's electoral strength. A win by Richard Mourdock, the Indiana state treasurer who is challenging Richard Lugar for his seat in U.S. Senate, will demonstrate the Tea Party's vitality. A loss will indicate a limit to the protest movement's popularity in the Midwest, said Fabio Rojas, associate professor in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University.

"The Tea Party needs to win in a competitive state like Indiana," said Rojas, whose research interests include protests and political organizations. "A victory here will spell the beginning of the end for moderate politics in the Republican party. Though conservative, Lugar had a record of working with both parties. A loss for him will bring that to the end."

Rojas, who blogs at, can be reached at 812-369-5242 or The Department of Sociology is in the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington.

More expert opinions on the Mourdock-Lugar race

Decision 2012 Button

As the primary race between Sen. Richard Lugar and challenger Richard Mourdock, the Indiana state treasurer, comes to a head, the eyes of conservative and moderate groups, national Super PACs and political reporters have turned to Indiana. This earlier election tip sheet includes insights about the anticipated outcome of the election, issues of the contentious campaign, the meaning of moderation, and the influence of money. Read more.

For additional assistance, contact Steve Hinnefeld at 812-856-3488 or, or Tracy James at 812-855-0084 or