Grover Norquist, the influential conservative activist who is the president of Americans for Tax Reform, will endorse Richard Mourdock over Dick Lugar before next week's Republican Senate primary in Indiana, Yahoo News has learned.
Lugar, who has represented Indiana in the U.S. Senate since 1977, has never signed Norquist's "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" never to raise taxes. A majority of Republican lawmakers—and some Democrats in conservative districts—have signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge.
Norquist will join a handful of high-profile conservatives and organizations—including Sarah Palin and the American Conservative Union—who have backed Mourdock, Indiana's state treasurer who is running to Lugar's right with the backing of national tea party groups.
Members of Lugar's congressional staff met with Norquist at the Americans for Tax Reform headquarters in Washington earlier this year to discuss whether Lugar would sign the no-tax pledge, a source who attended the meeting told Yahoo News.
Norquist never received a reply from Lugar's staff, the source said, so he contacted Lugar's office last week to give the Indiana senator one final chance to sign. Lugar refused, the source said.
Lugar campaign spokesman Andy Fisher said the senator did not sign the pledge to avoid being "beholden to D.C. special interests."
"Hoosiers don't want their senators beholden to D.C. special interests and that's why Richard Mourdock's hometown paper called on candidates of both political parties not to sign pledges," Fisher told Yahoo News. "Sen. Dick Lugar is proud to be endorsed by Indiana's leading job creators—a striking contrast to Mourdock's support from D.C. interest groups that bear zero responsibility for job creation or economic development in Indiana."
Norquist plans to announce the endorsement on a conference call with Mourdock, who signed the pledge, on Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m. ET, Adam Radman, a spokesman for Americans for Tax Reform, told Yahoo News.
This article has been updated to include a comment from Lugar spokesman Andy Fisher.
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