Rep. Braun still yet to field a question on the issue
INDIANAPOLIS – After Congressman Messer backtracked on a statement made last night and suggested he’ll support the GOP’s Senate candidate, Congressman Rokita is still the only major GOP Senate candidate who is not prepared to endorse the nominee should he lose the primary. And while Rep. Braun may share either candidate’s view, he has yet to make his feelings clear.
In an interview with Fort Wayne’s WPTA TV last night, Congressman Messer was asked if he’d support whomever won the GOP primary and could only deflect. Rather than agreeing to support the nominee, Congressman Messer said that “I can’t make that pledge today” and pivoted to his optimism about winning the primary himself. However, Congressman Messer quickly flip-flopped after the interview aired, telling the Washington Examiner’s Philip Wegmann that he has “every anticipation of supporting the winner in the primary.”
The reversal leaves Congressman Rokita as the only candidate who outright refused to eventually endorse his primary opponent. Asked on his campaign kickoff tour by the Lafayette Journal & Courier if he’d support Congressman Messer if he won the nomination, Congressman Rokita could only give a “backhanded response” that “skirted the question” instead of committing to party unity and saying he’d endorse. Despite a span of several months, meanwhile, Congressman Rokita has yet to publicly backtrack like Congressman Messer has.
Congressman Rokita may have company if Rep. Braun is also unwilling to endorse a primary opponent should he lose, but so far Rep. Braun hasn’t made it clear where he stands. Rep. Braun’s emergence in the race has come much more recently than either of the Washington Republicans, and he’s kept his press and campaign schedule nearly empty following his million-dollar third quarter. It appears he has yet to field a question on the issue.
“While Congressman Messer has flip-flopped and suggested he’s willing to support the party’s eventual nominee should he lose, Congressman Rokita’s refusal and Rep. Braun’s silence still ought to worry the Republican faithful,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz, Senior Media Strategist for the Indiana Democratic Party. “There’s still six months for the candidates to continue attacking each other before the primary—we’ll see if Congressman Messer and Rep. Braundon’t agree with Congressman Rokita when they’re done slinging mud at each other.”