INDIANAPOLIS - With the 2018 midterms exactly one year away, three of the leading candidates in the race for Senate appeared on this week's edition of IN Focus to talk about several key issues in the news.
In the video above, Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and two of his Republican challengers, Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) and Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) discuss the tax reform debate, health care, and the recent indictments from the special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in last year's election.
On health care, Messer again made the case that the GOP health care bill would have passed if it weren't for Donnelly's vote against it in the Senate.
"God bless it didn’t pass," responded Donnelly. "It was a health care plan that would have ended health care coverage for a lot of Hoosiers."
"For months, the broken U.S. Senate has blocked President Trump’s agenda, and Joe Donnelly is part of the problem,” said Messer. “Senator Donnelly was the deciding vote against repealing Obamacare. If Joe Donnelly wants to prove to Hoosiers he can get something done, supporting tax cuts is his chance.”
On the Mueller probe, while both Messer and Rokita said the investigation should continue, both downplayed news last week's indictments of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manfort and another campaign associate.
"None of those indictments as far as I can tell have anything to do with the Russians," said Rokita.
But this past week, Rokita did seize on another aspect of the Mueller investigation, hammering Donnelly on reports that he accepted $2,000 from Manafort associate Tony Podesta, whose brother John served as Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman.
"Joe Donnelly must return the thousands of dollars in dirty campaign cash he has taken from super-lobbyist Tony Podesta," said Rokita campaign spokesperson Nathan Brand. "Donnelly owes it to voters to relinquish all financial and campaign ties to a lobbyist subject to a federal criminal inquiry."
Donnelly told FOX59 he would be returning the donation.
"It’s a minimal amount, and I'm more than happy to send it back," said Donnelly.
While both Messer and Rokita have taken turns attacking Donnelly and each other, another GOP candidate has been making waves in recent weeks.
State Rep. Mike Braun was the first Senate candidate to hit the airwaves with a new campaign ad last week.
Braun is also scheduled to appear on next week's edition of IN Focus.