INDIANAPOLIS – The “nastiest race in politics” got a little nastier this week when Congressman Rokita refused to commit to supporting Congressman Messer if he won next year’s Republican nomination at a campaign stop in Lafayette.
As reported yesterday in the Lafayette Journal & Courier, Congressman Rokita could only punt when directly asked if he’d support another Republican should he lose the nomination, giving a “backhanded response” that “skirted the question.”
Asked @ToddRokitaIN if he’d back @RepLukeMesser if Messer wins the GOP primary. Backhanded response turns to defeating Donnelly. pic.twitter.com/JrxXB09oTu
— Dave Bangert (@davebangert) August 14, 2017
Congressman Messer has yet to be asked whether or not he’d support Congressman Rokita in a general election.
Congressman Rokita’s refusal to say he’d support Congressman Messer in a general election will only cause further worry for Indiana Republicans and enflame what reporters have already labeled the “GOP’s nastiest primary.” Both candidates took to calling the other “unhinged” in the run-up to their dueling campaign announcements last week. And almost immediately after the primary officially started, Congressman Rokita’s campaign released a video aggressively attacking Congressman Messer and questioning his support for President Trump.
“Both front-runners in the GOP primary have only just officially announced their candidacy, yet the ‘nastiest race in politics’ has already reached the point where Congressman Rokita can’t even say he’d support his party’s nominee. And considering Congressman Messer’s complaints of how Congressman Rokita has treated him, the feeling is probably mutual,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz, Senior Media Strategist for the Indiana Democratic Party. “With a long time before primary day, there’s no telling how fractured the support of the eventual Republican nominee will be, and how much of a toll this early infighting will take.”