Indiana Republican Rep. Todd RokitaTheodore (Todd) Edward RokitaBottom Line Lobbying world Female Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations MORE dons a “Make America Great Again” hat in a new television ad for his Senate campaign in which he attacks his GOP primary rivals and pitches himself as a top ally to President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE.
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The crowded primary between Rokita, Rep. Luke MesserAllen (Luke) Lucas MesserK Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers Yoder, Messer land on K Street House GOP to force members to give up leadership positions if running for higher office MORE (R-Ind.) and businessman Mike Braun has turned into a battle to show themselves as closest aligned with Trump.
The president defeated Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE in 2016 by about 19 points in Indiana, where Vice President Pence served as governor before joining the presidential ticket.
In the ad, first obtained by The Hill, Rokita makes his pitch to Trump supporters while swatting aside the other candidates looking to take on incumbent Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyEx-Sen. Joe Donnelly endorses Biden Lobbying world 70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents MORE (D).
“Here’s the truth: we are not going to beat Joe Donnelly with a RINO,” Rokita says in the ad, using the acronym for Republican in name only.
“Mike Braun, he’s a lifelong Democrat. He voted for [former President] Obama or Hillary [Clinton] … and Luke Messer, he plotted with the Never Trumpers to steal the nomination from President Trump.”
Rokita then puts on Trump’s signature red “Make America Great Again” baseball cap and says he will “proudly stand with the president and Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePence posts, deletes photo of Trump campaign staff without face masks, not social distancing Pence threatens to deploy military if Pennsylvania governor doesn’t quell looting Pence on Floyd: ‘No tolerance for racism’ in US MORE to drain the swamp.”
The ad is indicative of the hard-charging approach Rokita has taken to the campaign. He’s criticized Braun for regularly casting ballots in Democratic primaries until 2012, while Braun’s campaign has told the Indianapolis Star he’s a “lifelong Republican” who only voted in those elections to try to shift the outcome.
Rokita has also highlighted critical comments Messer made of Trump during the 2016 election, a strategy Messer’s campaign has brushed aside by arguing that Messer backed the president in the primary and has always supported him.
Rokita’s new ad comes as candidates release a flurry of advertisements ahead of the May primary.
Braun has played up the outsider angle against the two congressmen in the hopes of painting the pair as fixtures of Washington.
And Messer’s camp has sought a more positive tone, playing up his support of Trump in spots with family members that talk up his record instead of taking aim at opponents.