Advocates of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t tell have long targeted Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) as a possible swing vote on overturning the policy and Lugar’s office had been telling me that the Senator was “leaning” towards supporting the measure if it came up for a vote under a fair process and after the New START treaty. But on Thursday, the Senator joined 38 other Republicans in voting against a motion to proceed to the measure.
Now, with the stand-alone repeal measure reaching 40 co-sponsors in the Senate, Lugar’s office has confirmed to me that the Senator is “sympathetic” to the new DADT repeal legislation and may be willing to vote for the measure if it is brought up under a “fair” process and voted on after START.
Lugar first announced his qualified endorsement Sunday night, after a speech at Marian University in Indianapolis, Indiana, in response to a student’s question about the policy. This afternoon, Lugar spokesperson Mark Helmke reiterated that the Senator’s vote would still depend on how the measure is brought up. Helmke also said that Lugar was willing to stay past Christmas to end the policy before the end of the year.