Tea partyers trying to retire Sens. Lugar, Hatch

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Associated Press

Posted on April 8, 2012 at 8:02 AM

Updated Monday, Apr 9 at 10:02 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — They were both elected in 1976 and are now the longest-serving Republican senators.

Indiana's Richard Lugar and Utah's Orrin Hatch also are tea partyers' top GOP Senate targets for defeat this year. They're portrayed as old bulls who are out of touch with today's conservatives.

The incumbents have come out swinging. It seems they've learned a lesson from what happened two years ago, when Hatch's fellow Utah senator, Robert Bennett, had his re-election bid derailed by the fledgling tea party movement.

Hatch has shored up his support and is courting delegates to state's GOP convention April 21. He's emphasized his seniority and covered his flank with more conservative stances and votes.

Lugar started early and had a big cash edge over his tea party challenger, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

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