INDIANAPOLIS – The unofficial end to summer means the unofficial start to campaigning ahead of the November mid-term elections.
Indiana’s U.S. Senate race will be one of the most expensive and closely-watched in the country. Incumbent Democrat Joe Donnelly is trying to hold onto his seat, as Democrats try to take control of the Senate, while Republican businessman Mike Braun with the backing of President Donald Trump is looking to unseat him.
“A vote for Mike Braun is a vote for – did you ever hear this before – Make America Great Again?” Trump said at a rally last week in Evansville.
In a red state like Indiana, both candidates in one aspect or another are trying to align themselves with the president.
“My focus is to work on the issues,” Donnelly said in a recent interview. “To work with my partners Republican and Democrat – whoever wants to move the ball forward.”
Braun appeared on stage with Trump at last week’s rally, aligning his outsider approach to that of the president’s.
“When you send me there you’re going to get a guy who’s not afraid to speak up, that’s solved problems in the real world,” Braun said.
Our IN Focus panelists agreed the race will be tight, meaning more ads, more high-profile visits in an attempt to sway Indiana votes.
“I would put it slightly – slighting being within the margin of error – for Donnelly at this point,” Mike Murphy said, a GOP strategist and former Republican state lawmaker. “But we’re still a lifetime away from November 6th.”
Former Democratic lawmaker Christina Hale agreed, saying we live in “crazy times.”
“Anything can happen,” she said. “It’s the wild west of politics.”