Well I expected either Congressman Todd Rokita or fellow Congressman Luke Messer to be the GOP nominee after the Indiana Senate Primary. Turns out I was wrong. Businessman Mike Braun is the nominee and is now poised to take on Senator Joe Donnelly.
The Indianapolis Star calls this a "huge upset", Indiana Senate race: Mike Braun wins GOP primary in huge upset over 2 sitting congressmen, but I guess it is reflective of just how angry people are at the D.C. establishment and in spite of trying to set themselves apart neither Messer nor Rokita seemed able to shake the insider label. It is hard to grab the outsider high ground when you are a sitting Congressman. Braun won in spite getting just 40% of the vote while Messer and Rokita pretty evenly split the other 60%.
I expect this to get ugly as it is one of the best opportunities for the GOP to pick up a Senate seat and the Indianapolis Star agrees:
Braun will have little time to relish Tuesday’s victory. Democrats already are planning to attack him with advertisements highlighting his GOP opponents' criticisms throughout the primary. But he’ll also get plenty of reinforcements. Trump will visit Elkhart on Thursday to rally Republicans behind Braun, and national GOP groups are expected to pummel the state with advertising on Braun’s behalf.
When you combine the overwhelming support for Trump in 2016, major cash from the GOP and Braun's own wealth this should be a solid pick-up for the Republicans unless something crazy happens in national politics between now and November or if Braun has a Richard Mourdock-type gaffe that costs him the election.
A lot can happen in the next six months but I would love to see Republicans increase their Senate majority with pick-ups in my ancestral state of Ohio, West Virginia and my home state of Indiana, among others. Retaining the House and increasing the Senate majority, both of which seem likely to me, will go a long way toward setting the stage for a Trump re-election in 2020.