Luke Messer wins Indiana Republican Party straw poll in race for U.S. Senate primary

INDIANAPOLIS – In perhaps the first bellwether of what’s to come in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, Rep. Luke Messer (R-Ind.) won Saturday’s straw poll hosted by the Indiana Republican Party as part of Congress of Counties training session.

“This is an important group of people,” Messer said before the vote. “This is grassroots leaders from all across the state, but it’s just one sample.”

The candidates didn’t appear to take Saturday’s results too seriously, but found the event to be a critical moment to build momentum and support.

“The straw poll isn’t important,” Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) said, who placed second. “This is a party building exercise and I’m happy to participate in it.”

The Indiana Republican Party said 326 people voted. Messer took 147 votes, Rokita 82, Mike Braun 36, Mark Hurt 29, Andrew Takami 20 and Andrew Horning 12.

Each candidate was given time to sell themselves during a luncheon before the vote.

“It gives these Senate candidates a chance to introduce themselves to the party faithful,” Kyle Hupfer said, the state party’s chairman. “To the grassroots supporters from across the state.”