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IN Tea Party Groups: Lugar's Kagan Vote "The Last Straw"

Indiana Republican Senator Richard Lugar's last election in 2006 saw him get an incredible 87% of the vote. (It helped that the Hoosier Democratic Party didn't have an endorsed candidate on the ballot.) It's a testament to the cross-party political popularity Lugar holds in Indiana.

But his vote today in favor of confirming Supreme Court Justice nominee Elena Kagan has cemented that Lugar will face at least some opposition in his 2012 re-election campaign.

"The Kagan vote is the last nail in the coffin," says Monica Boyer.

Boyer, an organizer for Tea Party Group Kosciusko Silent No More, says the state's various Tea Party organizations will find a candidate to runagainst Lugar.

"We have one mission now and that's to get rid of Lugar," says Boyer.

Boyer says an emergency meeting has been set tonight for a number of Tea Party organizers to set into motion a plan which has been put togetherover several weeks.

Tea Party irritation at Lugar is not new. Hoosier Tea Partiers see Lugar as too eager to compromise. Lugar's vote to confirm Justice Sonia Sotomayorangered movement followers. When Lugar announced his support of the Kagan nomination, Tea Party groups began plotting action.

Today, says Boyer, different groups took hourly turns phone banking Lugar's offices to communicate their displeasure. Indeed, Lugar's communicationsdirector, Andy Fisher, says the number of calls today were about equal to the number and tenor as the day of the Sotomayor vote.

Fisher declined to say how many protest calls came in, but he did note that about two-thirds came from out of state.

Boyer says the next steps will be for the Tea Party groups to collectively put together a federal political action committee to raise money and to startsketching out a caucus process to find a potential Tea Party backed Senate candidateto challenge Lugar.

Asked if this Indiana Tea Party consortium would be looking to find a Republican primary challenger, Boyer says no.

"We'd take a conservative Democrat," says Boyer. Party affiliation is apparently not the group's concern, rather Boyer describes an acceptable candidate as someone who is a constitutional, fiscal and social conservative.

Boyer says, "November 3rd will be a big day for us." Which is the day after Election Day 2010, the day this Tea Party cooperative plans to launch its anti-Lugar effort.

It would seemingly take a Herculean political effort and a pool of luck nearly the size of the BP oil spill to topple a Hoosier State political icon who was first elected to the Senate in 1976...but Indiana Tea Party groups are apparently ready to try and make a few waves.

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