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IN THE NEWS: Congressman Rokita steps up his attacks…on former Governor Mitch Daniels

INDIANAPOLIS – Congressman Rokita continues to prove he’s willing to attack anyone or say anything to get himself elected, this time going after Indiana’s former governor Mitch Daniels in his recent ad. Congressman Rokita’s ad released last week takes a shot at Congressman Messer for his support of a $1 billion tax increase. While the ad lacks citations, the Indy Star reported yesterday that the attack is a reference to Congressman Messer’s votes for Governor Daniels’ first budget deal as governor in 2005 and his funding deal for Lucas Oil Stadium and expansion of the Indiana Convention Center when Congressman Messer was in the Statehouse. It’s a line of attack from Congressman Rokita that raises eyebrows, as it’s leveled not at his primary opponents but indirectly at the policies of the former governor, who “is revered by many Indiana Republicans,” the Star writes.

Congressman Rokita’s attack on Governor Daniels also means he’s now attacked two of the last three Republican governors, having kicked off his campaign last August with an attack on Governor Holcomb’s gas tax increase. Sparing Governor Pence, however, doesn’t mean he can expect support from the Vice President – a Pence-linked outside group is already up in support of Congressman Messer.

From the Indy StarTodd Rokita’s ad against Luke Messer indirectly attacks Mitch Daniels’ record on taxes

Rep. Todd Rokita’s latest attack on GOP rival Luke Messer also indirectly takes on former Gov. Mitch Daniels’ legacy.

Rokita’s campaign ad accuses Messer of having “raised our taxes by a billion dollars” by supporting Daniels’ first budget deal as governor and a stadium funding package Daniels negotiated in 2005.

It’s another sign that Rokita… is not shy about taking on fellow Republicans to win his party’s nomination in the May primary.

But, even though the ad doesn’t mention Daniels — who is revered by many Indiana Republicans — it could be a risky move to criticize two of his big accomplishments.

The ad distorts the facts,” said Chuck Schalliol, who was Daniels’ budget director. “As secretary of state all of those years Rokita never to my knowledge was less than supportive of our budget agenda.

Although Daniels has not endorsed a Senate candidate, he has previously given Messer credit for “helping craft a balanced state budget with no tax increases.”

“Luke Messer has been a key partner in most of our state’s biggest policy achievements,” Daniels said in previous praise that Messer has posted on his campaign web site.

Messer is benefiting from most of the establishment GOP support in the race, including from three former state GOP chairs. He’s also had both direct and indirect help from several associates of Vice President Pence. And an outside group with ties to Penceassociates has run more than $330,000 in ads praising Messer.

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