New TV ad from group run by top Pence allies praises Congressman Messer; Congressman Rokita’s camp previously claimed VP would be “Switzerland” in GOP primary
INDIANAPOLIS – A new TV ad from an outside group closely linked to Vice President Pence praising Congressman Messer seems likely to anger Congressman Rokita, whose campaign claimed the Vice President promised that he’d remain neutral in the GOP Senate primary.
On Friday, the Indy Star reported that a dark money group called the American Economic Freedom Alliance (AEFA) had begun airing ads praising Congressman Messer in his Senate primary bid. The group has several ties to the Vice President, including its director, Michael Adams, who is the legal counsel for Mike Pence’s leadership PAC, the Great America Committee. AEFA is also registered at the same address as IMGE, a public affairs firm who counts among its leadership Marty Obst, Vice President Pence’s senior political adviser.
The Pence-linked ad is raising questions about whether Pence has broken an apparent promise he made to Congressman Rokita to remain neutral during the GOP Senate primary. Pence told Congressman Rokita that he’d remain “Switzerland” in the primary, Congressman Rokita’s campaign said, a promise that seemed to hold until last week.
Despite the claims of Congressman Rokita’s campaign, it wouldn’t be shocking if Congressman Messer received favoritism from the Vice President, as it’s no secret they enjoy a close relationship. Congressman Messer and the Vice President are also linked as the Vice President’s brother, Greg Pence, is evidently the handpicked candidate in Congressman Messer’s district.
“Congressman Rokita claimed that Vice President Pence would be “Switzerland” in his primary, but with two months to go, Pence’s allies seem to be off the fence and jumping behind Congressman Messer’s disappointing Senate bid,” said Michael Feldman, spokesman for the Indiana Democratic Party. “These ads won’t help Congressman Messer’s underwhelming candidacy, but it’s the second time the Vice President has tipped the scales against Congressman Rokita in favor of another Republican candidate. After watching Vice President Pence break promises to Hoosiers, how does Congressman Rokita feel now that he’s once again the one hung out to dry?”