Name-calling is run-of-the-mill stuff in politics. But in the case of Indiana Republican Senator Dick Lugar, it's a bit surprising.
Lugar has been in the Senate since the waning days of the Gerald Ford presidency when he was originally sworn in January of 1977. It's mostly been smooth sailing for Lugar ever since. In 2006, the Indiana Democratic Party didn't even put up an opposition candidate.
But in pursuit of his 7th Senate term, the 79-year-old Hoosier faces what shapes up to be his sternest test in a generation...or three.
Here's how you might be able to tell.
That's how Lugar Campaign political director David Willkie describes 67 (of 92) Indiana GOP County Chairmen who are backing Republican Lugar's primary opponent, Tea Party candidate Richard Mourdock.
In a campaign e-mail, Willkie advises Hoosier Republicans not to take the bait of nominating a Tea Party candidate.
"A large number of Republican County Chairmen have been duped into participating in the same failed scheme that resulted in Christine O'Donnell and Sharron Angle and cost us two crucial Senate Seats in 2010," Willkie writes.
Christine O'Donnell lost in the Delaware Senate race to Democrat Chris Coons while Angle was defeated by Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada.
And Lugar has serious Tea Party opposition in Indiana. "Hoosiers for a Conservative Senate" is a coordinated effort among 70 Tea Party groups in the state to oust Lugar. The group was involved in recruiting Mourdock to run and is backing him.
"Hoosiers for a Conservative Senate" was co-founded by Tea Party organizer Monica Boyer of Warsaw.
Senior Lugar advisor Mark Helmke acknowledges using a private email account to send an email to a handful of Indiana reporters and political bloggers that describes Boyer as "...a...college secretary named Monica Boyer has received incredible national press coverage for her attacks on Senator Dick Lugar."
The e-mail then goes on to note the attention in-state and nationally Boyer has received in her role as part of the Lugar opposition, "Google reports that ‘Monica Boyer Indiana' has 1,530,000 hits."
Then, Helmke transitions immediately into Boyer's defeat last November in a race for a seat on the local school board.
From the e-mail: "Monica Boyer lost a three way race for the Warsaw school board 65 to 19 to 17. Seventeen votes for Monica from her neighbors, not the national media."
Helmke goes on, noting Boyer's husband also lost an election recently for Warsaw City Council, and then concludes, "Real political clout there for the Boyer family as they proclaim they will ‘bloody their knuckles' taking on Senator Lugar. That should get them a lot more media recognition."
In an e-mail exchange Helmke tells Fox News he was attempting to provide context to reporters about Boyer.
"...many reporters who don't know Indiana well quote her as if she can mobilize tens of thousands of followers. I just wanted to provide some perspective as a (sic) I volunteer some of my time from home in the evening."
Now it's true in conservative Hoosier-land that Tea Party forces have not yet produced a Rand Paul or a Michele Bachmann-type champion of their own. And the popular notion among political observers is that Lugar will do what he always does: win another term.
But by saying Indiana's County Party Chairmen are being "duped" and belittling a Tea Party organizer, the Lugar campaign is signaling a different kind of reelection battle is looming.
Steve Brown is an author, radio broadcaster and seminary professor at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida.