Senate race off to pleasant start

(Fort Wayne) News-Sentinel

When last we wrote about next year’s U.S. Senate race, we were warning Hoosier Republicans not to take the seat for granted. Incumbent Joe Donnelly is not just a lucky Democrat who drew a bad candidate in Richard Mourdock in 2012. He also is a very appealing, personable candidate with some positions that most Republicans can support.

We can now name two prominent Republicans who are probably paying absolutely no attention to such advice — Hoosier U.S. Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita, so far the two most likely candidates to seek the GOP Senate nomination.

That’s because they’re too busy beating each other up.

So far, they’re in the relatively tame “I can’t believe my opponent is being so mean, now let me tell you something about him” stage. Rokita chides Messer for maintaining a family life in Washington, meaning he isn’t a real Hoosier who lives here most of the time. Messer wants Rokita to quit “lying about” his family and refrain from criticizing all the money Mrs. Messer makes as an attorney.

But neither one, though each has raised over $1 million, is even officially in the race yet, so this is one sign that things could get really brutal later on. That would be a shame both for Republicans in particular and Hoosier voters in general

No, we’re not arguing that a harsh, candidate-tarnishing primary would necessarily lead to a Donnelly victory (although it certainly wouldn’t hurt him). We’re not that naive. Just consider the most recent GOP presidential primary. It was one the most vicious campaigns in modern history, and the nastiest candidate of all not only won, he now sits in the White House.

But Hoosier voters deserve a lively, no-holds-barred, even bruising campaign over substantive issues and values, philosophies and proposals, not personalities and personal issues.

It has been well established that Democrats these days have no coherent platform of ideas that moves the country. But in case you haven’t noticed, Republicans don’t either. They won’t defend conservatism, and they have no idea what to replace it with. That’s why Donald Trump won the presidency.

If Hoosiers hear such a platform, we are confident they will vote accordingly, and Indiana politics will be elevated to the highest level.

Yes, we are that naive.

This was distributed by the Hoosier State Press Association. Send comments to dr-editorial@greenfield