In 2012, US Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN) will be 80 years old. Lugar has been serving in the US Senate since his first election in 1976, spanning the Presidencies of Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and now Obama. So far, Lugar is on track to run for reelection, but I honestly believe that the people of Indiana can do better. Lugar supports the DREAM Act which would legitimize a number of illegal immigrants and supported all of Obama's Supreme Court nominees. This in and of itself should have conservatives questioning the long-serving Senator. In 2012, an opportunity arises to select a better fit, a better candidate who will not serve as Senator for Life. Since Mike Pence is looking at a bid for Governor or President, I say that the man for the job is Marlin Stutzman.
Who is Stutzman? Stutzman is a fourth generation farmer. At 26, he was elected to the State House of Representatives and was the youngest member until 2006. In 2008, Stutzman was elected to the State Senate. During his tenure he received strong ratings from conservative groups including Indiana's Right to Life, Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Advance America, and the National Rifle Association. In 2010, Stutzman ran for the open US Senate seat. In the GOP primary, Stutzman was up against much better known candidates including former US Senator Dan Coats and Congressman John Hostettler. Early polling showed Stutzman in a low position, but he ran a strong campaign earning endorsements from Jim DeMint, Erick Erickson, Mike Huckabee, and American Conservative Union chairman David Keene. Stutzman ended in 2nd place with nearly 29% of the vote. Coats won with 39%.
When an opening arose in Indiana's 3rd Congressional district due to the resignation of the incumbent, Stutzman was selected as the nominee. He will soon be sworn in as a member of Congress, winning the open seat for both the special election and the general election with 62% of the vote. He ran on a platform of limited government and opposition to Obama's agenda; if he fulfills his campaign promises and seriously pushes for conservative values in Congress, he will prove himself quickly to conservative voters who had previously supported him. 29% of Republican voters wanted him as their Senator in 2010 - with a term in Congress under his belt, that number can only grow.
I know it's early to call on Stutzman to announce; I know it's going to take some doing to get him to challenge a sitting US Senator, but Lugar has been in office for too long and the Republican Party needs more, younger candidates to take their place. I hope Stutzman considers and I hope you will join me in encouraging him to do so.
Cross-posted to Old Line Elephant