May 9, 2012 1:51 AM
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar (LOO'-gur) has lost to a tea party-backed challenger in Indiana's Republican primary, ending a storied political career that spanned nearly four decades.
Tea party-backed state Treasurer Richard Mourdock won the Republican nomination Tuesday. He spent much of the campaign portraying Lugar as too moderate for the conservative state.
Mourdock will face Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly in November.
The 80-year-old Lugar had never faced a primary challenge in his Senate career and was slow to respond to attacks from conservatives unhappy with his voting record and longevity in Washington. Outside groups poured millions into the race and attacked Lugar on his record and whether he was legally registered to vote in Indiana because he did not maintain a home there.
President Barack Obama is expressing appreciation for what he calls Lugar's distinguished service in the Senate. In a statement, Obama praised Lugar for his willingness to - in Obama's words - reach across the aisle and get things done.
The president highlighted Lugar's efforts to work with the White House on nonproliferation issues, and his bipartisanship on national security.