By BRIAN A. HOWEY
Ind. - U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita all but declared his candidacy for the
2018 Republican U.S. Senate nomination which will likely pit him against
U.S. Rep. Luke Messer. It could set up the second consecutive cycle
where two GOP members of Congress square off for a Senate seat, this one
held by U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly.
has been telling Republican insiders that polling he conducted last
summer when he ran a 12-day campaign for governor showed him within 5%
of Donnelly. Rokita lost the Indiana Republican Central Committee vote
to now Gov. Eric Holcomb.
Friday, Rokita political strategist Tim Edson told HPI, "Rep. Rokita is
strongly considering challenging Joe Donnelly and is making
preparations to hit the ground running if he decides to launch a Senate
bid. He is receiving a lot of encouragement to challenge Donnelly from
Hoosiers across the state whom he has known for years. Todd believes
Indiana needs a Senator who will heed the will of Hoosiers and work with
President Trump to solve problems and advance a conservative agenda.
Joe Donnelly is committed to representing Chuck Schumer and Nancy
Pelosi, not the people of Indiana.”
week, Messer told HPI, “Political calculations will have nothing to do
with my decision. I’m just trying to figure out if this is the best way
we can serve the state.” As for a potential showdown with Rokita, a
former two-term secretary of state, Messer said, "I hope it doesn’t
because I’m friends with all members of our delegation, but it will have
no bearing on my decision." GOP sources tell HPI that Rokita will speak
at several 6th CD Lincoln dinners in the coming months.
Sen. Mike Delph, former Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard, Kokomo
attorney Mark Hurt and Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke are others who
are considering a challenge to U.S> Sen. Joe Donnelly.