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Cantor distances himself from Lugar


House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) emphasized his independence from a super PAC founded by former aides after that group invested on behalf of Sen. Richard Lugar in Tuesday's Indiana primary.

Cantor sought to distance himself from the intraparty battle between Lugar and state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who appears poised to unseat the veteran senator in today's primary.

"First of all I have not gotten involved in that race, and this is an outside group that I have no control over," Cantor told NBC News.

Politico reported last monththat the Young Guns Network, the Super PAC and 501(c)3 spearheaded by former aides to Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) spent $100,000 on mailers in support of Lugar.

The ad buy upset many conservative Republicans who had looked to Mourdock as a more palatable alternative to the relatively more moderate Lugar.

Cantor declined to actively endorse Lugar on Tuesday saying, “I think our party is a party of ideas and we're out there in an active debate over the direction of this country. But one thing that brings us all together is that this government has grown entirely too big and we have an impending deficit and debt situation that we have got to address.”

A GOP campaign operative called Cantor’s move “wise” and said any further connection to Lugar would “hurt him with the activist base of the party.”