INDIANAPOLIS – Congressman Messer failed to say whether he’d support Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) if elected to Senate, throwing into question whether the spiritual leader of a Washington Super PAC expected to spend millions in Indiana this year can count on the Congressman.
Grant County Tea Party Chairman Kevin Lyons this week told the Indy Star that Congressman Messer was unsure of whether he’d support Mitch McConnell as Senate Majority Leader if elected. Lyons went on to claim that the Congressman told him “he’d do what Trump wanted” when it came time to vote for leadership.
The unwillingness of a major GOP Senate candidate to back McConnell is the latest clear indicator of the Majority Leader’s unpopularity among Hoosiers. It’s especially striking considering that Congressman Messer is a member of leadership in his own right, fourth in line in the House Republican Conference in Washington.
The decision by Congressman Messer – or any other Senate candidate – to break with McConnell may have lasting repercussions, however. The Senate Leadership Fund, a Republican outside group run by McConnell allies, has already spent money in Indiana this year and is expected to dump in millions of dollars more. It remains to be seen whether the group will go to bat in general elections for candidates unwilling to support McConnell.
“Congressman Messer is a member of congressional leadership himself, and it seems he’s backed everything that Mitch McConnell has done as Majority Leader. But now that he needs to win a primary, contorting himself to align with what he thinks Hoosiers want to hear is just politics as usual for Congressman Messer,” said Michael Feldman, spokesman for the Indiana Democratic Party. “Hoosiers want to know: will Congressman Messer support McConnell if elected to the Senate?”