IN THE NEWS: Before primary even starts, News-Sentinel tells off Congressmen Messer and Rokita for “candidate-harming” attacks

“Hoosier voters deserve a lively… campaign over substantive issues and values…not personalities and personal issues.”

INDIANAPOLIS – The conservative Fort Wayne News-Sentinel took the two GOP Senate primary frontrunners to task this morning, after both Congressman Rokita and Congressman Messer attacked each other in emails at the start of the week. In today’s editorial, the paper chided both men for their aggressive personal attacks on each other before either has even entered the primary instead of focusing on substance. This might just be the start of their fight – if the two men continue down this path, we could be at the start of a primary that “could get really brutal later on,” the editorial continues.

From the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel: EDITORIAL: Senate race not starting at a high level

When last we wrote about next year’s U.S. Senate race, we were warning Hoosier Republicans not to take the seat for granted…

We can now name two prominent Republicans who are probably paying absolutely no attention to such advice — Hoosier U.S. Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita, so far the two most likely candidates to seek the GOP Senate nomination. That’s because they’re too busy beating each other up.

So far, they’re in the relatively tame “I can’t believe my opponent is being so mean, now let me tell you something about him” stage. Rokita chides Messer for maintaining a family life in Washington, meaning he isn’t a real Hoosier who lives here most of the time. Messer wants Rokita to quit “lying about” his family and refrain from criticizing all the money Mrs. Messer makes as an attorney.

But neither one, though each has raised over $1 million, is even officially in the race yet, so this is one sign that things could get really brutal later on. That would be a shame both for Republicans in particular and Hoosier voters in general.

No, we’re not arguing that a harsh, candidate-tarnishing primary would necessarily lead to a Donnelly victory (although it certainly wouldn’t hurt him). We’re not that naive. Just consider the most recent GOP presidential primary. It was one the most vicious campaigns in modern history, and the nastiest candidate of all not only won. He now sits in the White House.

But Hoosier voters deserve a lively, no-holds-barred, even bruising campaign over substantive issues and values, philosophies and proposals, not personalities and personal issues.

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