State Treasurer Richard Mourdock will attempt to unseat Richard Lugar, the longest-serving U.S. senator in Indiana history.
He surprised many Saturday at a gathering of the Tippecanoe County Republican Women's Club by saying, "I've made the decision."
"I've had a lot of people talk to me about considering running for U.S. Senate in 2012," Mourdock told about 80 people. "On February 22nd, we're going to be touring the state to make a special announcement."
The announcement was unexpected to many in the room, but not to Barb Knochel, club president.
"I was surprised he would say anything publicly," said Knochel, who added that she heard about Mourdock's intentions Friday.
Mourdock seemed to choke up when speaking of Lugar.I really think Lugar is kidding himself if he thinks Hoosiers love him so much they will allow him to remain in this Senate seat for life. People have never been more discontent about the prospects for the future of this country. Their confidence in the politicians who've been in Washington for decades has never been lower. This is no environment for running as an experienced incumbent when your country is essentially bankrupt and finds itself at the mercy of a communist Chinese government and a handful of Arab emirs to prop up your government by continuing to finance a debt this country cannot possibly repay. Lugar should do the right thing for his party and this country and simply step aside. Thirty-six years is long enough for anyone to serve in Washington. He's going to be 80 years old. Take some time to spend with your family, Dick. We'll somehow manage to get along without you. It's not like your presence there has saved us from our self-destructive ways.
"Let me start simply by saying there's no one in the state of Indiana that has a greater respect for Senator Lugar," he said. "He is an honorable man and has served us all honorably.
"As Republicans, we believe in the free market. We believe in competition in the marketplace and competition in the market of ideas. The competition in Republicanism is equally important. And so I look forward to that type of debate and having that type of competition of ideas expressed during the primary season of 2012."
UPDATE: I've added this video Diana Vice posted at her blog, Welcome To My Tea Party, of a speech Mourdock delivered at a Tea Party event held at the State House. The video is very shaky but the oratorical skills of Mourdock are on great display and explains why Dick Lugar should be quaking in his boots. Diana also was present for Mourdock's speech yesterday. Her reaction to it says it all. Check it out here.