INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Indiana’s three Republican U.S. Senate candidates kept up their TV advertising attack lines against each other during their final televised debate before next week’s primary.
Mike Braun, Luke Messer and Todd Rokita largely focused their remarks during Monday evening’s debate on casting doubt about the support of the other candidates for President Donald Trump.
Messer and Rokita are both sitting congressmen who attacked Braun on matters such as his history of voting in Democratic primaries and supporting a gasoline tax increase while he was state legislator. Braun is a wealthy businessman who criticized Messer and Rokita for being longtime office holders who wouldn’t “drain the swamp.”
Whoever wins the May 8 primary will carry the GOP’s hopes of defeating Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in the fall election toward helping Republicans keep their narrow Senate majority.
Releases from Rokita and Messer stated their candidate “won” the debate, while a release from Indiana Democrats said Joe Donnelly was the clear winner. Messer was the only candidate to speak to the media on camera following the event.
Todd Rokita spokesperson Nathan Brand issued this statement after the debate:
“Only one candidate on the stage tonight had the fight and the conservative record to beat Joe Donnelly, Todd Rokita demonstrated during tonight’s debate victory that he is the candidate that Hoosier conservatives can trust to defeat Donnelly and be a true ally for President Trump in the US Senate.”
Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody issued this statement:
“There was one clear winner for tonight’s debate, just like there was for the last three debates, and indeed the entire year-long primary: Joe Donnelly. Congressmen Messer and Rokita and Rep. Braun had every opportunity to present a positive message for Indiana, just as they have for the last year — and yet all we got is another mud slinging contest where no candidate could find one single instance where they’d split with President Trump in any issue. When they should be giving their closing arguments in the last event of the primary, they simply gave their most confrontational debate yet.
“After a nasty, expensive year, this primary is all but over, and none of the three candidates can escape who they are — flawed, unpopular, hypocritical candidates more at home in the swamp than in Indiana. Hoosiers deserve a better representative than these three deeply flawed candidates: luckily they have one in Joe Donnelly.”