Printed in the Indianapolis Star, February 09, 2011
To the editor:
It is no secret that a number of conservatives want to be rid of Richard Lugar. His record on the Second Amendment is horrible, including votes for the Brady Bill and the "assault weapons" ban. He even recently suggested bringing that law back. Worst of all, Lugar voted to confirm both of Barack Obama's nominees to the Supreme Court.
But conservatives need to be careful that 2012 is not a repeat of 1998 and 2010. We had two solid conservatives split the conservative vote in 1998, allowing Paul Helmke to win the nomination with just 35 percent of the vote. Last year, two solid conservatives split the conservative vote and allowed Dan Coats (clearly the least attractive option for conservatives) to win the nomination with 39 percent of the vote.
If conservatives are going to unseat an incumbent in the primary, we must rally around one candidate. Potential challengers to Lugar need to think very carefully about this race. Removing Lugar is possible, but it cannot be done if two (or more) credible conservatives split the vote and allow Lugar to win with a plurality.