Indiana U.S. Senate candidate Mike Braun (R) loaned his campaign nearly $2.4 million in the third quarter after saying he would not self fund in the run-up to the general election, the Indianapolis Star reports.
Indiana U.S. Senate candidate Mike Braun (R) “is running his U.S. Senate campaign on borrowed funds. More than three of every four dollars in his war chest was loaned to the campaign, and the bulk of it has come from banks with executives who are Braun’s friends, professional acquaintances, or campaign donors,” the Daily Beast reports.
“At the same time, Braun has used a legal but controversial accounting maneuver to circumvent donation limits by re-routing nearly $100,000 in money earmarked for a prior election through funds that he himself has lent to the campaign, and into his general-election account.”
Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) — a red state Democrat up for re-election in 2018 — announced Friday that he will oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, CNN reports.
“The Indiana senator was one of three Democrats in the chamber to back President Donald Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, and Donnelly had been an a handful of undecided senators from red or purple states that Kavanaugh’s supporters had targeted for support.”
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll in Indiana shows Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) leading challenger Mike Braun (R), 46% to 43%.
New polls in the other Rust Belt states show Democratic Senate candidates also leading in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio.
USA Today: Polls show Trump states flipping back to Democrats.
Associated Press: “Groups that typically back GOP candidates, such as the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, are sitting on the sidelines. Mike Braun’s (R) recent three-stop ‘solutions’ tour — spread out across three days — was ridiculed by Democrats, who pointed to Sen. Joe Donnelly’s (D-IN) seven-day, 40-stop trek in August.”
“And while Braun, a multimillionaire businessman, took out $6.4 million in loans to fund his primary campaign, he also publicly groused about the cost. Now, with less than two months until the election, he has yet to purchase air time for October, while Donnelly has outspent him by almost double on TV and radio since June, records show.”
A new NBC News/Marist poll finds Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) has a slight advantage over challenger Mike Braun (R) in Indiana’s closely-watched Senate contest, 49% to 43% among likely voters.
Politico: “Privately referred to by some colleagues as the ‘accidental senator’ because of his good fortune in drawing a deeply flawed GOP opponent in 2012, the first-term Indiana senator’s presence is often barely noticed in the Capitol. His heads-down style distinguishes him among a quintet of centrist Democrats scrapping to survive this fall.”
“Donnelly rarely gives news conferences and stays away from cable news. For years, he assiduously avoided reporters who blanket the Capitol hallways. Now, the burly 62-year-old is running for reelection like a city council candidate, highlighting small-bore accomplishments and projecting an agreeable demeanor that contrasts sharply with what comes out of the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue most days.”
Indiana U.S. Senate candidate Mike Braun (R), who often rails against foreign outsourcing, sells his own auto products that were similarly manufactured abroad, the AP reports.
“It has been well documented that Braun’s national auto parts distribution company, Meyer Distributing, ships and sells other companies’ goods that are made outside of the U.S. Such practice doesn’t leave him vulnerable to charges of hypocrisy, he argues, because as a distributor he only resells the parts and has no control over where the companies make them.”
“But the revelation about the Chinese origin of much of his own products line, which Meyer trademarked with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, draws into question some of Braun’s statements on the campaign trail.”
Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) “said he supports giving President Trump billions of dollars for his border wall this fall — a sharp break from the rest of the party planning to spurn Trump’s wall in spending negotiations this fall,” Politico reports.
Said Donnelly: “I’m fine with providing him some more. I actually voted for border wall funding three different times.”
The Koch political network announced that it does not currently plan to support Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) in his effort to unseat Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), “one of the most vulnerable Democrats up for reelection this November,” the Washington Post reports.
“Heitkamp’s race is a top pickup opportunity for Republicans, who are trying to retain their slim two-seat majority in the Senate. Heitkamp, the only Democrat who holds statewide office in North Dakota, is running for reelection in a state that President Trump won by more than 35 points.”
“Koch network also has no current plans to back Senate candidates in Nevada and Indiana.”
First Read: “The midterm battle for Senate control has plenty of colorful characters, important narratives and high-profile races… But for a true bellwether contest about the state of the country in 2018, the best bet might be Indiana, where Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly is facing off against relative political newcomer and GOP businessman Mike Braun.”
“Why? Donnelly doesn’t have the strong personal and political brand of a McCaskill or a Manchin, and Braun doesn’t have the political baggage of being a ‘D.C. insider.’ That makes this more of a generic Democrat v. Republican ballot than most of the other marquee Senate races elsewhere in the country. And it’s in a state where — despite a GOP-leaning history — Democrats have sometimes benefitted from political winds blowing their way, including Barack Obama’s win there in 2008 and Donnelly’s victory in 2012.”
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“In West Virginia and Indiana, the Republican Senate primary fights have morphed into multi-candidate battle royals with the combatants focused on one mission: out-Trumping their opponents,” NBC News reports.
“Tuesday’s primary votes will tell us if the strategy worked, but some key numbers in the states explain all the one-Trumpsmanship – at least for primary season. For starters, both states not only went for Trump in 2016, the president did much better than 2012 Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney.”
“But after Tuesday, the Senate races in both those states will cast an eye toward November’s general election, and there the I’m-with-Trump strategy could get a little more complicated even in places that appear to be deep Trump country.”
NBC News: “Drunken driving, self-dealing and false advertising. Those are just some of the charges voters here are sifting through in a brutal three-way Republican primary that will determine who gets to take on Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) in November. That contest on May 8 is one of a handful across the country that will determine which party controls the Senate next year, and Republicans believe they have a good shot at winning the seat.”
“The primary in Vice President Mike Pence’s home state has turned personal largely because there’s hardly a whit of policy difference among the three GOP candidates — Reps. Todd Rokita and Luke Messer, and former state Rep. Mike Braun. They’re all against abortion, taxes and the growth of entitlement spending, and they’re all doing their best to portray themselves as the second coming of President Donald Trump.”
“In U.S. Senate candidate Luke Messer’s (R) first successful run for public office, he had to persuade a caucus of local party insiders that he was the right man to replace state Rep. Roland Stine, a beloved schoolteacher who was killed by a drunken driver less than a month earlier,” the Indianapolis Star reports.
“That position would launch his political career and eventually land him a spot as a top Republican in Congress.”
“But Messer had a secret: He himself had two drunken driving convictions.”
Indiana U.S. Senate candidate Todd Rokita (R) “likely violated ethics laws as Indiana’s secretary of state by repeatedly accessing a Republican donor database from his government office, prompting party officials to lock him out of the system until he angrily complained,” the AP reports.