Politics

Todd Rokita Launches His First TV Ad in Indiana Senate Primary

Ad by self-identified “pro-Trump” candidate attacks the “liberal elites”

Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita is airing his first TV ad of the Senate primary on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita’s Senate campaign is hitting the airwaves Wednesday with its first TV ad before the May 8 primary. 

The ad, obtained first by Roll Call, opens with a short clip of former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and launches into an attack on “liberal elites” who “disrespect our flag” and “riot in our streets.”

It’s half attack — with cameos by football player Colin Kaepernick, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and the Democratic incumbent Rokita hopes to face, Sen. Joe Donnelly — and half an introductory spot. Talking to the camera, Rokita says he’s running to “fight the politically correct politicians.”

Rokita identifies himself as “pro-life, pro-gun and pro-Trump” in the ad. The four-term congressman calls for building the border wall and making English the country’s official language. 

The ad is running on statewide cable for a couple of weeks. It’ll also run digitally in six- and 15-second versions. Together, the TV and digital buy is in the mid-six figures. The campaign is also airing a new radio ad Wednesday.  

Rokita is locked in a three-way GOP primary with fellow Hoosier Rep. Luke Messer and former state Rep. Mike Braun. The three Wabash College graduates had their first debate last week.

Braun was the first GOP candidate to go on TV last fall.  The businessman, who loaned $3.2 million to his campaign in 2017, has followed up with several other statewide TV buys. Messer’s campaign has reserved airtime for the end of the primary campaign. 

Rokita raised $459,000 in the final quarter of 2017, ending the year with $2.4 million. Messer raised $427,000 during the quarter and also ended 2017 with $2.4 million. Besides his personal loans, Braun only raised about $166,000 in the fourth quarter. He ended the year with $2.3 million.

Watch: Fundraising Reports Say a Lot About a Campaign

In an early January poll conducted for the Rokita campaign, Rokita led among likely GOP primary voters with 24 percent to Messer’s 9 percent and Braun’s 9 percent. Fifty-eight percent of likely primary voters were undecided. GS Strategy Group surveyed 500 likely primary voters Jan. 6-9.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the general election race a Tossup.  

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