INDIANAPOLIS — Longtime Republican Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar says he's counting on independents to help him win the fight of his political life.

The six-term senator faces a challenge from tea party-backed state Treasurer Richard Mourdock in Tuesday's Indiana primary.

Lugar met with more than a dozen ward and precinct committee members Tuesday at a restaurant on Indianapolis' north side.

He says he's optimistic because of reports of independent voters around the state crossing over to vote for him in the primary.

Lugar says he won't consider running as an independent in November if loses Tuesday's primary. He says it would be difficult under Indiana law to mount a third-party candidacy this late in the campaign season.