- President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are travelling to Indiana multiple times in the coming days to kickoff their effort to unseat Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly.
- Donnelly is among the most vulnerable Democrats in 2018, which is why the GOP will be going after him hard alongside his challenger, Mike Braun.
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are getting set to bludgeon one of the most vulnerable Democratic senators up for reelection in the coming weeks, hitting the campaign trail to stump for Mike Braun, the Republican nominee in Indiana tasked with unseating incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly.
Braun won the nomination on Tuesday, prevailing in a tense primary that featured Republican Reps. Todd Rokita and Luke Messer. Now that the nomination is settled, the White House is getting ready to hammer Donnelly in Pence’s home state.
Both Trump and Pence are travelling to Elkhart, Indiana, on Thursday for a rally in support of Braun – and they are set to relentlessly rail against Donnelly. Elkhart provides an ideal backdrop for Trump to tout his administration’s economic successes. The city’s unemployment rate is only 2.1% as of March, which is one of the best in the United States.
The purpose of the trip will be to “remind voters of their unique opportunity to support his America First agenda with an expanded GOP majority in the Senate mid-term elections this fall by replacing Senator Joe Donnelly with our GOP nominee,” according to Trump campaign Executive Director Michael Glassner.
Both Trump and Pence will be returning to Indiana the following week.
And the GOP’s hammering of Donnelly is already underway. The National Republican Senatorial Committee already has a Trumpian nickname for the moderate Democrat: Mexico Joe.
The NRSC developed the moniker because Donnelly’s family business had previously provided jobs south of the border. They have gone to extraordinary lengths to make the nickname stick, including hiring a Mariachi band to follow his campaign around.
Donnelly is extremely vulnerable, despite 2018 appearing to be a friendly environment for Democrats.
In Indiana, Donnelly has a rough path forward. Trump garnered more than 500,000 more votes in the Hoosier state than Hillary Clinton did in 2016.
While Donnelly is a relatively moderate Democrat in a red state, The Cook Political Report rates his seat as a toss up, which places him in prime striking position for Trump and Pence.
Donnelly’s Campaign Manager Peter Hanscom said in a statement that they welcome a challenge from Trump and Pence, noting that Donnelly is an independent who often votes with Republicans.
“As Indiana’s hired help in the Senate, Joe voted with the president 62% of the time last year because he works for Hoosiers, not any politician or political party,” said Hanscom. “That’s why he voted against the McConnell tax law, because too many Hoosier families will have their tax cuts wiped out by rising health care premiums. Joe’s happy to have the president and former governor back in our state – if they’re looking to play politics, Indiana in May is a great time and place to do it.”
While the NRSC and outside groups like America Rising have been hitting Donnelly repeatedly since almost immediately after the 2016 election concluded, Trump and Pence are now going in for the kill.
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