IN THE NEWS: GOP Primary back to boiling as Congressman Rokita bashes Congressman Messer over residency claims

INDIANAPOLIS – The two Washington Republicans that have made the GOP primary the ‘nastiest race in politics’ are back at it again after Congressman Rokita went after Congressman Messer for his residency issues with some of his most aggressive attacks yet. Those issues were then covered in further detail in an AP report this morning on Congressman Messer’s living situation—featuring more criticism from Congressman Rokita’s team. The candidates in the race are stepping up their head-on attacks, and with three candidates and half a year to go, the real broadsides the men are beginning to launch at each other will only get more harmful.

From WIBC: Rokita Challenges Messer On Decision To Have Family Live In DC Area

STATEWIDE — Two of the Republican primary candidates for U.S. Senate are battling over who has a better connection with Hoosier voters as one congressman defends his decision to have his family living with him in the Washington, D.C. area.

“The Hoosiers I talk to put their family first and they respect that a member of Congress would put their family first too,” said Republican Congressman Luke Messer in an interview Thursday morning with WIBC host Tony Katz.

But one of Messer’s Republican primary opponents and fellow Congressman Todd Rokita, in a separate interview with Katz on 93 WIBC, challenges Messer on his the amount of time [sic] he spends in Indiana.

“What’s best for our family is living right here amongst our constituents, amongst our neighbors in Brownsburg, Indiana,” says Congressman Rokita. “You only have to look to [Richard] Lugar [and] Evan Bayh to see how the Indiana electorate treats someone who doesn’t really live in this state and has lost touch.”

From the AP: Messer’s DC-area home complicates Senate campaign

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A campaign stop for Rep. Luke Messer in his bid for Senate involves traveling from his family’s home in suburban Washington back to Indiana, where he typically stays overnight with his mom.

Then there’s Messer. His family lives in McLean, Virginia, keeps a vacation house in Dandridge, Tennessee, yet sold their home in Indiana two years after his election to Congress in 2012. They now say a two-bedroom house Messer co-owns with his mom in Greensburg is the family’s Indiana residence.

One of his chief primary rivals, fellow Rep. Todd Rokita, has already seized on that as a line of attack.

“Luke Messer doesn’t live in the state — I do,” Rokita said in July. “I’m accountable to voters and taxpayers here. I live among them every week.”

A memo from a Rokita strategist declared that Messer’s “decision to sell his home in Indiana” will be “the death knell of his campaign.”

Over the summer, Messer’s Wikipedia page was mysteriously edited to include a section titled “Residency controversy.” Messer blames Rokita, who denies responsibility.

“Todd Rokita believes he can keep his own political career alive by attacking Luke’s family. He underestimates the fundamental decency of Hoosiers,” Bullock said.

###