IN THE NEWS: Looking for a sign of Congressman Rokita’s unpopularity? Check constituents’ yards

INDIANAPOLIS – It’s a rare congressman who faces a fleet of yard signs in his district calling for his ouster just eight months after his last election, but Congressman Rokita is a lucky one. Fed up with a congressman unwilling to listen to them, his constituents have already printed and put up a fleet of “Fire Todd Rokita” signs, the Journal & Courier reports. Even local Republican officials admit that representatives like Congressman Rokita need to pay attention to the outcry, and as for the signmakers? There’s already enough demand for another printing.

From the Journal & Courier: Bangert: The hope, the futility of those ‘Fire Todd Rokita’ signs

Those red-white-and-blue suggestions to “Fire Rokita,” with the first 150 of the campaign-sized placards sold out and planted in yards mainly in the Greater Lafayette neck of Rep. Todd Rokita’s 4th District, are going to a second printing this week.

So look for more to crop up as spring turns to summer.

The thought of more signs popping up – reminiscent of the flashes of “Fire Mike Pence” that started to take hold toward the end of the former governor’s first term – brought a more nuanced reaction from Mike O’Brien, the 4th District chairman for the Indiana Republican Party. Part of his job would be to backfill the 4th District seat with fresh candidates if Rokita jumps into the Senate race. (“There are names,” O’Brien said, “but I have to say it’s pretty quiet on that front so far.”)

“Still, I think Republicans really need to pay attention to these local protests,” O’Brien said. “It’s one thing when national groups come to town, and they spend a bunch of money and it’s a traveling circus and they’re off to the next battleground state. That wasn’t the case for the tea party in 2009 or 2010, and I don’t think it’s the case for a lot of these protests today. I think we need to take them seriously – not just roll our eyes and think this is just a flash in the pan.”

The first signs were printed in mid-May, available for $9.35 at www.firerokita.org.

Progressive voters had been simmering and organizing – calling congressional offices daily, in many cases – since Trump’s inauguration. They’ve been pressing Rokita for a town hall since then, in part to gauge how closely he’d align with all things Trump. In February, several hundred came to the West Lafayette Public Library for an event billed as the “Congressional Town Hall With or Without Rep. Rokita,” just to plot a strategy to get their questions to the congressman if and when he did come to Greater Lafayette.

“He has refused to hold a town hall all year despite multiple requests throughout the district,” said Lisa Dullum, who helped in the sign effort. “However, he does have time to attend fundraisers outside his district.”

Riley said the final straw was Rokita’s May 4 vote on the American Health Care Act, the House effort to replace the Affordable Care Act. Rokita has made no secret, in campaign speeches and actual votes for years, that he was willing to do anything to dismantle Obamacare.

“I understand that Mr. Rokita claims to be a conservative, but his recent vote for the AHCA without a full understanding of its impact – no public hearings or (Congressional Budget Office) scoring – is not how a conservative should behave,” Dullum said. “We now know that he voted for a bill that would result in 23 million Americans losing health insurance. Our friends, our families and our neighbors would be hurt.”

“And Rep. Rokita just seemed so gleeful about it that day,” Riley said. “We were all in a room, and someone said, ‘I want to see signs everywhere that say, ‘Fire Rokita.’ And that was the start.”

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