That was quick, and it wasn’t even close:
NBC News has declared Richard Mourdock as the projected winner in the Indiana Senate primary. Mourdock defeated six-term Republican foreign policy elder statesman Sen. Richard Lugar.
Mourdock is backed by conservatives ranging from the National Rifle Association to local Tea Party activists to the Washington-based fiscal conservative group the Club for Growth.
With more than 20 percent of precincts reporting, Mourdock was winning 61 percent of the vote.
I guess all that talk about the demise of the Tea Party and, ahem, Governor Palin’s irrelevance was just that: Talk. That and a healthy dose of wishful thinking on the part of the DC Establishment.
Update: With 55% of the votes in, Mourdock is “clinging” to a 20 point lead. My heart bleeds for the Peggy Noonans and Dana Milbanks of the world. Just a few weeks ago a Mourdock victory was considered, at best, highly unlikley. But a blowout like this was considered beyond the realm of possibility. Not anymore.
Update II: Politico’s take on the significance of tonight’s result in Indiana:
Sen. Dick Lugar, the political gold standard in Indiana for nearly 40 years, suffered a once unthinkable primary defeat Tuesday, marking a seismic shift in his state’s political culture and sending yet another warning to longtime Senate incumbents.
Lugar’s losing battle against Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, the tea-party-backed victor, was the marquee race on a primary day that also featured contests in West Virginia, North Carolina and Wisconsin.
Update III: Senator Lugar has conceded and will support Richard Mourdock in the general election, via the Greenfield Reporter:
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar says he hopes tea party-back[ed] Richard Mourdock wins the November election for his Senate seat.
Lugar conceded to Mourdock before a crowd of cheering supporters after returns from Tuesday’s Republican primary came in, marking the end of his 36 years in the Senate.
Lugar says he has “no regrets” about running for re-election this year. He says he wants to see a Republican in the White House and will support Mourdock in his race against Democrat Joe Donnelly for the Senate seat.
Give Senator Lugar credit for being classy and not pulling a Lisa Murkowski.