INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Indiana Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN 06) officially announced Wednesday he is running for Senate.
Messer made the announcement on Twitter just before noon. He will go up against Democrat Joe Donnelly in 2018.
Donnelly is considered one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats in 2018, according to the Associated Press. Republicans have signaled they will spend considerable sums to retake the seat previously held by former Sen. Dick Lugar.
But already the GOP primary is looking like it could be brutal. Messer and fellow Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN 04) have traded insults for weeks.
Rokita has yet to formally announce his candidacy but has hired key campaign staffers for an expected Senate bid.
Sen. Donnelly’s campaign manager Peter Hanscom issued this statement:
“Joe Donnelly has been an independent voice for Indiana in the U.S. Senate. Hoosiers know that Joe will always put them first—not party bosses, corporate lobbyists, or special interests in Washington. Ranked by the Lugar Center as the second-most bipartisan member in Congress, Joe’s no stranger to rolling up his sleeves and reaching across the aisle to get things done to keep good-paying jobs in Indiana, protect our servicemembers and veterans, and combat the opioid epidemic ravaging our state. Despite Congressman Messer’s entry into the Republican primary, there’s still only one person on next year’s Senate ballot who is deeply connected to the Hoosier electorate and has a proven track record of working across party lines to deliver for Hoosiers, and it’s Joe Donnelly.”
Indiana Democratic Party Senior Media Strategist Will Baskin-Gerwitz issued the following statement:
“Whether voting to ship jobs overseas, shut down the government this spring, or raise healthcare premiums for Hoosiers by over $1,000 every year, Congressman Messer has spent his political career siding with D.C. special interests over Indiana families. The only Hoosier he’s focused on is Congressman Rokita, with whom he shares a preference for harmful policies and a love of brutal personal attacks.
“Congressman Messer’s formal entry into the race ends the prologue of what’s shaping up to be the most brutal primary in the nation, but not its bile. With little to separate the two front-runners in their policy positions, the next ten months are shaping up to be a series of debilitating personal attacks that will play out everywhere from TV screens to campaign emails and the halls of congress to Wikipedia pages. Instead of focusing on the issues facing our state, the two leading GOP candidates are focused only on themselves and the special interest donors they’ll need to survive the primary. That’s not the leadership and common sense that voters demand.”