With Blankenship Loss, Republicans Look To November In Three Key Senate Races

10 May, 2018, 00:23 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • Mike Braun a candidate for the GOP nomination to represent Indiana in the U.S. Senate at the last GOP debate before the May 8 primary

WISH-TV's David Williams said it felt like a party early Tuesday night inside the Brickyard Crossing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita and his supporters gathered to watch election results roll in with excitement.

In the first race called in the night, the Associated Press declared Indiana Republican Greg Pence the victor of the party's nomination for the U.S. House seat once held by his brother, Vice President Mike Pence, 17 minutes after last polls closed.

Jasper native Mike Braun is projected by CNN to win the Republican primary race for Indiana's US Senate seat now held by Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have scheduled a campaign rally on Thursday - just two days after the primary, signaling a push to stir GOP unity behind Braun ahead of his fall campaign against Sen.

Braun was elected for the Indiana State House as a Republican in 2014.

The 2018 IN primary election is IN the books. Greg Pence, brother of Vice President Mike Pence, is the front runner among five Republicans for an open seat in one U.S. House race. Todd Rokita (R-IN) and Luke Messer (R-IN) on Tuesday.

The Republican primary race was mostly defined by personal attacks instead of policy differences, as each candidate was anti-abortion, pro-gun rights and pro-Trump.

Democrats, meanwhile, have shown reinvigorated signs of life and hope that energy will translate into a liberal "blue wave" in November that will help them retake two congressional districts where they've lost control in recent years.

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Braun was accused of pushing legislation at the General Assembly that cut taxes for his timber holdings, Rokita was said to have conducted political activities on state government time and property while he was IN secretary of state, and Messer had to answer for two drunken-driving arrests IN the 1990s. Much of the campaign was dedicated to emulating and praising President Trump.

On Monday, President Trump appealed into their country's chief voters to oppose Blankenship, arguing he "can't triumph" in the general election.

"It's clear [Indiana voters] want a champion for working families in the Senate - one who'll work hard and reach across the aisle to protect their access to affordable health care, defend Medicare and Social Security, and keep good-paying jobs here in Indiana", Donnelly campaign manager Peter Hanscom said in a statement. "You don't work for the president, you don't work for a party - you work for the people of IN".

Braun vastly outspent his opponents on the race, running ads highlighting his business record and one particularly effective spot with cardboard cutouts of Messer and Rokita where he asked voters if they could tell one from the other (spoiler alert: they couldn't).

Tom Mote, 66, of Indianapolis voted for Braun. Donnelly was unopposed for his party's nomination.

"Donnelly's been very low-key and not very controversial", said Mote.

Republicans in the conservative state are trying to continue their dominance in the Legislature and in congressional races.

Braun has campaigned on his business background and has pledged to bring back jobs that have been outsourced overseas.



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