A few electoral thoughts on the victory of Richard Mourdock over Dick Lugar in the Indiana US Senate primary tonight. Some people are comparing Mourdock's victory to those of Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell in the 2010 primaries. This comparison seems to me at least to be a mistake. Mourdock is a very credible candidate.
Mourdock actually has a track record of winning. He has now won two statewide elections for state treasurer (in 2006 and 2010), the second by a blowout margin. The voters are open to Mourdock, and he's shown an ability to win them over. Angle and O'Donnell had never won a general statewide election before their troubled Senate runs.
Likewise, Mourdock does not start from a huge deficit in polling. The latest poll (taken in early April) for the Indiana general election finds him tied with Democrat Joe Donnelly at 35% each. But Donnelly faces other hurdles: a majority of Indiana residents disapprove of Obama's job performance, and 81% disapproved of the job Congress is doing (Donnelly currently serves in the House).
It's true that this race would have been a cakewalk for Republicans with Lugar as the nominee, but, with considerable resources and strong support by Lugar himself in the general, Mourdock has a very good chance in November.