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IN THE NEWS: At Fort Wayne debate, GOP candidates throw out punches, not policy ideas

INDIANAPOLIS – As predicted, last night’s third GOP Senate Debate was a fight in Fort Wayne as Congressmen Messer and Rokita and Rep. Braun slung mud and stayed away from the policies that matter to Hoosiers. Fresh off being crowned the “nastiest race in the country,” all three candidates took 90 minutes to “bicker over who’s the Trumpiest,” the Journal Gazette said. After focusing on yard signs and DUIs, the trio could only stage a “lightweight discussion” on the opioid epidemic. It’s no wonder that the best summation of the debate may have come from Congressman Messer himself – “so many attacks… so little time.”

From The Journal GazetteCandidates bicker over who’s the Trumpiest

The three candidates for the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate seat from Indiana spent 90 minutes agreeing Monday night – but also disputing one another’s honesty and sincerity.

But they bickered constantly at Ramada Plaza Hotel and Conference Center over who would be the most conservative, Trump-supporting candidate to take on Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in the Nov. 6 general election.

Naturally, each of the three spurned the others’ assertions, with Rokita talking over Messer at various points, once telling him, “That’s false, that’s a lie.” Before the arguing had even begun, debate moderator Pat Miller of radio station WOWO told the audience, “I’m a little tired of the butt-kicking” among the candidates in their campaign appearances, advertising and previous debates.

From the Indy Star: Tully: 10 thoughts about the latest Republican Senate debate

6. I hardly know where to start with this doozy from Rokita. During a lightweight discussion, by all three, about the state’s opioid epidemic, Rokita said the answer is more tax cuts. Yes, he actually said tax cuts should be a key part of the fight against opioid addiction. Why? Because a stronger economy would give people more hope and less inclination to take drugs. He said this just after telling the story of a successful woman who died of painkiller addiction, and as all three noted that this issue crosses economic lines. He said this at a time when Republicans are portraying the economy as strong. He said this at a time when more investment is needed to make sure more people can have access to addiction care.

Finally, while politics is a show it appears that these three are not faking their dislike for each other. They each called the others phonies. There were attacks on where they went to college, where they live, their honesty and, perhaps worst of all in a GOP primary, whether they truly support President Trump.

We’ve seen it before. Nasty primaries come and go and the losers generally come around to offer the winner their endorsements. That will probably happen in this case. But it could take a while.

From the Indy StarIndiana Senate debate: 3rd outing among Republicans was a cordial smackdown

If this were any other race, Monday night’s debate between the three Republicans running for U.S. Senate would have been considered a knock-down drag-out event, a political bare-knuckle boxing match.

While they mostly agreed on policy, the candidates still threw in frequent jabs in an effort to distinguish themselves to the crowd of several hundred Fort Wayne-area Republicans and a TV audience.

“So many attacks,” Messer said at one point, “and so little time.”

From WIBC: Debate Number Three: Attacks and Some Substance in Ft. Wayne

If you’ve seen the ads on TV or heard them on the radio, then much of the third debate for the Republican primary for U.S. Senate probably sounded like a rerun. The three candidates, former state rep. Mike Braun, Rep. Todd Rokita and Rep. Luke Messer, rehashed some of their attacks on one another

The Rokita yard signs were addressed in comments from Messer.

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