Could Lugar Run For Senate Seat As 3rd Party Choice: It Wouldn't Be A First

By Jeff Neumeyer

May 16, 2012 Updated May 16, 2012 at 5:48 PM EDT

INDIANA, (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Have we truly seen the last of Richard Lugar in this year's U.S. Senate race?

The veteran politician was beaten badly in Indiana's May 8th Republican Primary, but Lugar would not be the first incumbent senator vanquished in a primary, to rise again, and celebrate victory in the proceeding general election.

Lugar has gone on record saying he would back State Treasurer Richard Mourdock in the fall election, after he lost by more than 20 points.

But speculation about Lugar trying to pursue the seat as a third party candidate started even before all the votes were counted.

In 2006, Democrat Joe Lieberman from Connecticut lost in the primary, but got redemption by winning the general election as an independent.

Two years ago, Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska was toppled in the primary, but won later that year in the general election, as a write-in candidate.

Leonard Williams/Manchester College Professor: " Both of those, however, ran as independents because they had lost narrowly. Lugar lost by 22 points, and that's a pretty big margin to overcome."

Indiana has what's known as a "sore loser" law, prohibiting primary losers from running later in the same year, in the general election.

Williams says it might have to be tested in the courts, as to whether it applies to federal candidates, including someone running for the U.S. Senate.

The legal challenge would only occur, however, if Lugar has a change of heart about running as an independent.

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