indiana senate primary

Businessman Makes Indiana Senate Primary Three-Person Race
Mike Braun making first statewide TV ad buys in the race

Screenshot of Mike Braun for U.S. Senate ad.

In what’s been largely characterized as a contest between two Republican members of Congress, a businessman with the ability to self-fund has made the first statewide TV and radio buys in the Indiana Senate primary.

Former state Rep. Mike Braun’s $329,000 three-week radio and TV buy signals he’s making this a three-person race. He announced his campaign in August. 

Trump Loyalty Contest Takes Hold in Indiana Senate Primary
Rokita team thinks Alabama results bode well for his “defeat the elite” campaign

Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita is running for Senate with the slogan “defeat the elite.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6 p.m. It’s not just primary challengers to sitting GOP senators who are feeling emboldened by the defeat of Alabama Sen. Luther Strange this week.

Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita took heart that the anti-establishment energy that propelled President Donald Trump to victory last fall is still in force,  with his campaign predicting that same movement will help him defeat fellow Hoosier Rep. Luke Messer in next year’s Senate primary.

Susan Brooks Chooses Sides in Indiana Senate Primary
GOP congresswoman endorses Luke Messer, will chair “Women for Luke”

Indiana Rep. Susan W. Brooks is the first member of the Hoosier delegation to publicly choose sides in the Senate GOP primary battle between Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Indiana Rep. Susan W. Brooks endorsed fellow Hoosier Rep. Luke Messer’s Senate bid Wednesday. She’s the first member of the delegation to publicly choose sides in what’s already become a nasty member-on-member primary war between Messer and Rep. Todd Rokita as the GOP tries to unseat the Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly.

“Luke and I have been friends for a long time, and being his colleague and watching him work up close, I have no doubt he'll make a great U.S. Senator,” Brooks said in a statement.

Todd Rokita Making Senate Bid in Indiana
Rokita and Messer face member-on-member primary

Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita is running for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita set to announce his Senate campaign on Wednesday, the Hoosier State is now officially host to yet another member-on-member GOP primary.

Rep. Luke Messer and Rokita have been sparring out in the open for weeks, vying for the GOP nod to take on Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in 2018. Even their Senate announcements seemed designed to try to out-do each other’s. 

Indiana Rep. Luke Messer Running for Senate
GOP primary candidates have already been sparring

Indiana Rep. Luke Messer announced he’s running for Senate on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:30 p.m. | Indiana Rep. Luke Messer announced on Wednesday he’s running for Senate.

In declaring his bid to challenge vulnerable Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly, the third-term Republican congressman tweeted, “We’re in!!” with a link to his new campaign site just before noon.

How an Establishment Candidate Appealed to Trump Voters
Young defeated Stutzman in Tuesday's Indiana GOP primary

Young defeated Stutzman in the GOP Senate primary. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump won big in Indiana Tuesday, but it wasn't a good night for another anti-establishment candidate in a down-ballot Senate race. Two Hoosier congressmen sought the GOP nod for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Dan Coats. Marlin Stutzman sold himself as a Hoosier farmer who, when he wasn't hoisting bags of cracked corn over his shoulder, was "shoveling manure" in Washington. He faced  Todd Young, an attorney who relied on the familiar refrain of a Marine taking on Washington — while benefiting from establishment backing. Young defeated Stutzman by 34 points, with 98 percent of precincts reporting.  

That victory may say less about the waning appeal of outsider candidates down-ballot and much more about how Young successfully undermined Stutzman's anti-establishment message. [Related: In Indiana, a Marine and a Farmer Duel for Future of GOP] Stutzman, who represents the state's most conservative district, was supposed to be the candidate who tapped into Trump's outsider appeal. Indeed, even while being backed by the anti-Trump Club for Growth, he tried to accuse Young of attending a stop-Trump confab earlier this year, as if beckoning to Trump sympathizers to join his side. [Related: Indiana Will Test Club for Growth's Evolution]