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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Campaign 2012: Mitt Romney cruises as other races grab spotlight

  • WASHINGTON — Six-term Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar was routed by the right flank of his own Republican Party Tuesday night, and North Carolina voters decided overwhelmingly to strengthen their state's gay marriage ban — a conservative show of enthusiasm and strength six months before the nation chooses between Democratic President Barack Obama and GOP foe Mitt Romney.

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  • WASHINGTON — Six-term Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar was routed by the right flank of his own Republican Party Tuesday night, and North Carolina voters decided overwhelmingly to strengthen their state's gay marriage ban — a conservative show of enthusiasm and strength six months before the nation chooses between Democratic President Barack Obama and GOP foe Mitt Romney.
    Romney swept three Republican primaries, moving ever closer to sealing his nomination.
    "I have no regrets about running for re-election, even if doing so can be a very daunting task," the 80-year-old Lugar said as he conceded to the tea party-backed GOP opponent who ended his nearly four-decade career in the Senate. Lugar's foe, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, had painted the Republican senator as too moderate for the conservative state.
    North Carolinians voted to amend their state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman, effectively outlawing gay unions.
    Also Tuesday, Democrats were picking a nominee to challenge Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in a June recall election.
    The contests overshadowed Romney's continued progress toward the GOP presidential nomination. He won the GOP presidential primaries in Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia, drawing close to the 1,144 delegates he needs to clinch the nomination. He was likely to win 100 or so delegates of the 288 he still needed.
     
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    Even Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, was essentially ignoring the primaries. He spent the day campaigning in Michigan, where he castigated Obama as an "old-school liberal" whose policies would take the country backward.
    The outcomes of Tuesday's far-flung voting gave clues about the state of the electorate — and highlighted the political minefields facing both Republican and Democratic candidates — with the presidential contest well under way.
    In the biggest race of the night, Lugar lost to state Treasurer Mourdock, who will face Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly in the November general election.
    Within minutes of Lugar's loss, Democrats were already painting Mourdock as too extreme for the state.
    Tea party groups were crowing about the win, and Mourdock urged supporters to donate to his general election campaign, saying: "We left everything on the table to win the primary."
    Republicans need to gain four seats to take control of the U.S. Senate, and a Lugar loss "gives Democrats a pickup opportunity," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
    Earlier in the day, Lugar, 80, made clear he would stand by Tuesday's outcome, ruling out running as an independent.
    Page 2 of 2 - "This is it," he said.
    Playing out in a conservative state, the race illustrated the electorate's animosity toward many incumbents and anyone with deep ties to Washington. That was clear when Lugar, who hasn't faced questions about his residency in decades, found himself on the defensive over whether he lived in Indiana or northern Virginia. Lugar also was cast as too moderate for the conservative GOP in Indiana, and he took heat for his work with Democrats on issues such as nuclear nonproliferation, underscoring deep polarization in the country as well as a split in the GOP between the establishment wing and the insurgent tea party.
    Elsewhere, North Carolina voters moved in the opposite direction from a string of states — Democratic-leaning places such as New York and Vermont as well as conservative Iowa — where same-sex marriage is now legal. Six states and Washington, D.C., now recognize gay unions.
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