Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock believes Rick Santorum’s departure from the Republican presidential race could help him unseat longtime Sen. Richard Lugar in the upcoming May 8 primary.

A recent survey found the majority of Santorum’s supporters back Mourdock while GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney’s voters lean toward Lugar. Pollsters estimate that with an uncontested presidential race could suffer hurt the incumbent due to the lack of turnout and Mourdock concurs.

From the Indianapolis Star:

Mourdock said he expects Santorum’s withdrawal to benefit him and doesn’t buy that with the former Pennsylvania senator out, his supporters will stay home on primary Election Day.

“Those people who are conservative enough to be fired up for Rick Santorum are going to get out and vote no matter what,” he said. “They are the real hard core of our support.”

It’s Romney supporters, he said, who might decide he doesn’t really need their help and stay home.

The Lugar campaign says it never factored the presidential race into its strategy.