It's A Game Of "Risk And Reward" For Hoosier Republicans In Senate Primary Race

By Jeff Neumeyer

May 2, 2012 Updated May 2, 2012 at 6:27 PM EDT

INDIANA, (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Indiana Republicans are in a quandary.

If they support a fresh face with deep conservative roots in a U.S. Senate race next week, they risk costing the state some clout on Capitol Hill.

GOP voters can’t have it both ways in the hotly contested Richard Mourdock-Richard Lugar primary battle.

A lot of Republicans are excited about State Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

Many on the party’s far right are also getting nervous about supporting Lugar, the 80-year old senator, who has taken heat for not being conservative enough.

But in 36 years on the job, Lugar has earned respect in Washington, especially as an expert on foreign affairs.

If he goes, Lugar takes with him the position of being the Republican leader of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Andy Downs/Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics: " Being the ranking minority member, that's also going to be gone for Indiana. Several other things will be gone, but in the end, the senator is just one of 100 individuals, and that's what most people think about. They don't think about what it takes to get into those positions of power."

This area recently lost some clout in Congress in another way.

Long-time U.S. Representative Mark Souder resigned in 2010 following an extra-marital affair.

Marlin Stutzman got the seat, and, like any newcomer, he's working his way up, trying to earn power that can translate into benefits for Northeast Indiana.

A couple of prominent women in the Republican Party are now backing Mourdock’s effort to launch a career in the Senate.

Former presidential candidate Michelle Bachman has endorsed Mourdock, which comes after Sarah Palin gave a “thumbs up” to Mourdock last week.

We’ll see if Mourdock or Lugar is the choice of Hoosier Republicans in the May 8th Primary Election.

Apologies for the accompanying video identifying Lugar as chairman of the foreign relations committee. He is the ranking republican member.

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