NOTE: Yesterday, the Indiana Democratic Party published a release following an interview Congressman Messer conducted with the Lafayette Journal & Courier. The party noted that Congressman Messer defended disaster relief funding for his constituents in Henryville while voting against it for others after Congressman Messer affirmed that Henryville, which was damaged by 2012 tornadoes, was in his district. However, despite Congressman Messer’s claims, Henryville, and indeed the entirety of Clark County, are in the Ninth District, not Congressman Messer’s sixth. The party followed Congressman Messer’s lead, assuming that he knew his own constituencies; however, as Congressman Messer apparently doesn’t know his own district and was incorrect about Henryville’s location, so were we.
The Indiana Democratic Party apologizes for this mistake, and we promise to never take Congressman Messer’s word for it when he claims to have knowledge of his district.
INDIANAPOLIS—Congressman Messer swung into Congressman Rokita’s district to take more shots at his GOP rival in an interview this afternoon, but those attacks may not even have been the most resonant moment of his interview.
Speaking with the Journal & Courier’s Dave Bangert, Congressman Messer threw his weight around in the ‘GOP’s nastiest primary,’ saying that he’s known how Congressman Rokita behaves “since he was 19” and repeatedly questioning his opponent’s authenticity.
But even more striking was Congressman Messer’s utter failure to reconcile his vote against disaster relief for recent hurricane victims with disaster aid his own constituents took in 2012. It’s not clear whether Congressman Messer believes that what’s owed to his district isn’t owed to other Americans – or if he actually believes the federal government shouldn’t have done everything possible to help his own constituents get back on their feet after tornadoes.
From the Journal & Courier: Bangert: Messer on Rokita in nasty Senate race: ‘I know how he behaves’
Rep. Luke Messer didn’t sit across a coffee shop table this week and dispute that fact, knee-deep in a contest Politico declared “the GOP’s nastiest primary.”He also didn’t sit across that table pretending that things would get any nicer between he and Rep. Todd Rokita, a classmate during their days at Wabash College and his main rival among seven candidates for the Republican nomination and the right to face Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in 2018.
“I’ve known him since he was 19,” Messer said. “I know how he behaves.”
Q: How about last week’s vote on hurricane relief for Puerto Rico? You and Congressman Rokita were among 69 representatives who voted against that. What was the rationale?
Messer: There’s broad sympathy for the victims of hurricanes in Florida and Texas and Puerto Rico, but we can’t continue to kick the can down the road on our national debt. So, we’re just not making any of the kinds of hard choices it would take to balance the interest in helping Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico with also protecting America’s future. So, that’s essentially, we’ve seen very little effort to find a way to pay for those dollars and that’s why I couldn’t support that.
Q: Is Henryville in your district?
Messer: It sure is.
Q: So, Henryville got federal dollars after deadly March 2012 tornadoes, right?
Messer: Yes. But again, I think that’s a false argument. Of course the federal government should work to help Americans who are the victims of tragic weather events. Everyone agrees with that. But we also need to make decisions that protect America’s future. And I don’t think that because there were bad weather events in Indiana that somehow I’m obligated to sign on to a blank check that pays for, gives unlimited, unpaid for resources to every other weather tragedy.
Q: Joe Donnelly says he has Trump voters. He thinks he can keep them. Do you buy that?
Messer: I’m not a math major, but if he got a majority of the vote in Indiana and Donald Trump got a majority of the vote in Indiana, there has to be some mathematical truth in that…
And I think as it relates back to our primary, look, if you are running against Joe Donnelly arguing he’s inauthentic, he’s not who he says he is, then you better be running a campaign that’s authentic. You better be running a campaign that’s rooted in the truth.