Hatch, who left the Senate for the three weeks leading up to state convention, spent his time meeting with delegates, even those who opposed him.
Lugar got headlines like this, from the Post-Tribune newspaper: "Lugar makes rare stop in Northwest Indiana with primary drawing near." Not the sort of spotlight you'd want on your campaign just days before voters head to the polls.How Lugar thought he could survive a challenge from a candidate who had run statewide for Treasure and by all accounts is well liked is beyond me. Looks like his dirty campaign tactics against Mourdock did not work as Lugar was clobbered on Tuesday.
Lugar Proves That Campaigns Matter
By Reid Wilson May 9, 2012 | 2:49 PM
By most reasonable measures, Sen. Orrin Hatch should face the same fate as Sen. Richard Lugar, who lost his primary last night to a conservative challenger by 20 points. Hatch, after all, has been in Washington as long as Lugar, and he has the same reputation for working across the aisle that hurt Lugar with conservative voters.
What's more, Utah's unusual primary system -- which kicks off with precinct caucuses and a convention before heading to the actual primary electorate -- should put Hatch in even more jeopardy: The smaller the electorate, the more committed, and presumably more partisan, they will be.
But Lugar has lost, and Hatch appears to be on a glide path toward re-election. Why? Because campaigns matter.
And the contrast between the Hatch and Lugar campaigns could hardly be more stark. On one hand, Hatch's team ran what amounted to several thousand mini-campaigns. The campaign identified previous convention delegates, polled them extensively and found which delegates were likely to back one of Hatch's rivals. They then recruited opponents, helped those alternative candidates amass the support necessary and shepherded them through the precinct caucus process.
Come convention time, Hatch had effectively picked his own electorate. And he almost avoided a primary altogether: Hatch needed 60 percent to skip a primary; he scored 59.2 percent. Polls indicate Hatch leads former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist by a wide margin among the wider primary electorate.
Lugar, on the other hand, hadn't had a real re-election challenge in three decades -- and it showed. Challenged on whether he actually resided in the state, Lugar spent weeks, even months, defending his home address, his decision to live in northern Virginia and even whether he was legally eligible to vote in Indiana at all.
His entire campaign, in other words, was spent answering questions his opponent wanted him to answer. Both candidates rushed home to save themselves during the final weeks, and even then they received very different coverage:
The bottom line: Campaigns matter. That's why Hatch is probably going to get another term in the Senate and Lugar will not.
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