WATCH: Three Indiana GOP Hopefuls Meet For First Senate Debate
By Mike Perleberg
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Luke Messer, Todd Rokita, and Mike Braun – candidates for the Republican nomination for Indiana’s U.S. Senate seat – met for their first debate Tuesday.
The 90-minute senate debate was hosted by the conservative political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity Indiana. It was hosted at Emmis Communications’ headquarters in downtown Indianapolis.
The meeting was the first time the three met face-to-face-to-face in a campaign that so far has been fought over emails and political advertisements. In a debate that was at times heated, the three sparred over their records, backing of President Donald Trump’s policies, and whether or not they are part of the Washington establishment.
“Mike, welcome back to the Republican Party. Luke, welcome back to Indiana,” Rokita, the current Indiana 4th District congressman and former Indiana Secretary of State, jabbed at the start of the debate.
They also took turns hammering Democrat incumbent Senator Joe Donnelly, who they each aim to face in the November general election.
“The Senate is broken and Joe Donnelly is a big part of the problem. Joe Donnelly talks conservative when he is back home in Indiana, and he votes in Washington with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer and Barack Obama 85 percent of the time,” said 6th District Congressman Messer.
Unlike the suit-donning congressmen, Braun appeared in a button-up shirt with the sleeves rolled up. The millionaire businessman and former state legislator argued that voters should send him to Washington because of his real world experience as a job creator
“Our founders never intended this to be a career job,” Braun said of Rokita and Messer’s extended terms in Washington. “Do your service. Get back to where you came from.”