IN THE NEWS: Rep. Braun no longer above the fray in three-way race, Indiana and national papers show

INDIANAPOLIS – Rep. Braun may have entered the Indiana GOP Senate primary believing he could stay out of the mudslinging that’s defined the “nastiest race in politics,” but it’s clear that won’t be the case. A pair of articles looking at the primary yesterday, published in National Journal and Howey Politics Indianamade clear none of the three major GOP candidates are going to emerge from the primary unscathed—and that includes Rep. Braun. Whether it’s mocking the infighting between the two Washington Republicans as “the gift that keeps on giving” or taking some of his first hits for making his money off a company that sold foreign car parts, he’s found himself in the thick of the fighting.

Key Points:

  • “For months, Messer and Rokita have drawn attention for their attacks on each other, barbs that began even before either officially entered the race. In an interview, Braun emphasized that the acrimony was not the cause of his campaign, but he framed it as a major asset.

    “Occasionally, you get a gift when you do something, and this has been the gift that keeps on giving,” Braun said.” [National Journal, 11/28/17]

  • “Although Braun has yet to bear the brunt of attacks, Republicans are already signaling that he will not continue to get a free pass. One of his biggest liabilities, strategists said, is his support for a gas tax that Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb signed into law earlier this year.” [National Journal, 11/28/17]
  • “Being a consummate “insider-style” politician means that, generally, you are a more “likable” person. You probably pick your words more carefully, take fewer risks, and don’t exaggerate as much for effect. Platitudes come more smoothly because they cater to the majoritarian viewpoint and don’t earn enemies. Those are not typically the skills needed to defeat a popular, canny incumbent like Sen. Joe Donnelly.” [HPI, 11/28/17]
  • “However, Braun is completely untested. The statewide and national media will become focused on this race, especially if the Democrats win in Alabama. They are not the same as the Jasper, Indiana, media. Everything Braun has ever done, including in the state legislature and in business, is fair game. It will not be “fair” and Braun has no anchor of familiarity.

    Braun owns a nationwide vehicle parts supply company, a true Hoosier success story. He has previously stated that, while his emphasis was on American companies, his firm had to accommodate the fact that not all vehicles sold (and certainly not parts) are American-made. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least six powerful ads featuring foreign parts sold by his firm. The simplest would be Donnelly standing in front of one of Braun’s stores, surrounded by boxes of parts made in Japan and Mexico. ” [HPI, 11/28/17]

  • “It is less than six months until primary voting day. This is the fundamental fact: The issue positions of Rokita and Messer are virtually identical, and Braun has failed thus far to articulate any fundamental actual issue difference. In other words, this primary is likely to be about style and not substance. That tends to make races more personal and nastier… For Sen. Joe Donnelly, it will be nearly pure joy.” [HPI, 11/28/17]

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