INDIANAPOLIS – Former GOP Congressman Mark Souder’s frustration at Rep. Braun’s lackluster campaign boiled over in a point-by-point takedown that will go down as one of the most aggressive attacks a federal politician has launched on a Senate candidate in his own party this cycle.
In his Howey Politics column, Souder described the Braun campaign as “one of the worst Senate campaigns in [his] lifetime,” attacking Rep. Braun’s lack of grassroots support, calling his ads the worst in nearly fifty years and noting his inability to raise money. In a race expected to be as close as Indiana’s Senate campaign, candidate quality matters – and if Rep. Braun’s campaign is half as bad as Souder claims, GOP alarm bells should be ringing.
From Howey Politics: Mike and Joe Nonsense
1.) Braun’s campaign is among the worst Senate campaigns in my lifetime. I’m not saying that he is wrong on issues, not qualified to serve as senator, a poor businessman, or anything else. Just that he has run an awful campaign. No grassroots, little money beyond his own, and after his terrific primary ads, in the fall campaign they’ve been terrible, or boring.
2.) Braun’s version of campaigning is the antithesis of a Holcomb-Daniels style effort…. [Holcomb] found every basketball court and interesting food spot in the state. It was not only to meet people, but also was important for symbolism: We care about everybody, not just the big cities. We are real people, not just television props. In off-year elections, turnout in those areas matters more than in the presidential years. You can win by ignoring the smaller counties, but you can also lose. When you’re running against an incumbent, generally speaking you try harder.
3.) Braun’s ad called “Won’t Wait” is likely the worst Senate ad since Richard Roudebush, whose closing ad in his razor-thin loss to Vance Hartke in 1970 had pieces of the Republican elephant design coming together. I have seen his Google search, or whatever, ad many times and never once figured out a single point in the ad until I looked at it on-line. Even then, I don’t understand what they are trying to do. Instead of the humor and clarity of his primary ads, Braun’s fall ads are generally muddled, all over the place and worse than uninspiring: they are boring.
6.) If grassroots matter at all, Donnelly wins. He’s likable. Not fake likable; Joe is actually likable. He chose to be a Democrat and I chose to be a Republican, but we were good friends, genuine friends.
7.) If the race is between Donnelly and Braun, Donnelly wins… The Republicans, in particular, need to re-focus this right now or even the rightward tilt of Indiana will result in Indiana’s vote in the Senate siding with the Democrats in how the body is organized.