Indiana U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, who is in a difficult race to keep his seat in a state that overwhelmingly voted for President Donald Trump in 2016, touted his record of working with him in a debate with his opponents Monday, according to Reuters.
Democrats are counting on Donnelly holding on to his seat in an attempt to regain control of the U.S. Senate in November’s midterm elections. The first-term senator is trying to hold on to the seat, once held by longtime Republican moderate Richard Luger, against former GOP state representative Mike Braun.
In the latest Fox News poll, Donnelly held a slim 43-41 percent edge over Braun among likely voters with Libertarian Lucy Brenton getting 6 percent. Among registered voters, Donnelly’s lead shrinks to 41-40 with the identical 6 percent for Brenton.
Braun attacked Donnelly’s vote against U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh Saturday after a bruising confirmation hearing after allegations of sexual misconduct that dated back to high school, per Reuters.
“He never sticks his neck out,” Braun said of Donnelly, saying that he has spent his term in the Senate serving the will of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Donnelly told the debate that he was concerned about Kavanaugh’s “judicial temperament,” in reference to his defense against those charges before his confirmation vote. Donnelly pointed out that he did support Trump Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch last year, the news service stated.
The senator went on to say that he voted for Trump’s legislative agenda more than 60 percent of the time, Reuters noted.
“I support President Trump’s efforts,” Donnelly said during the debate, per the news service. “I want him to be successful. Because when a president is successful that means the United States is successful. That’s what this is supposed to be about.”
According to the Indianapolis Star, Donnelly tried to compare Braun to the Republican he defeated in 2012, the controversial Indiana state official Richard Mourdock. Mourdock, who upset Luger in the Republican primary, drew nationwide condemnation during that election for saying that sometimes rape was “something that God intended to happen.”
Donnelly was able to build a coalition of Democrats in Indiana’s urban areas and Republicans angry about Luger’s loss in the primary to upset Mourdock in 2012.
“I was on a stage six years ago where they said Richard Mourdock was extreme,” Donnelly said in the debate, according to the Star. “But Mike is actually more extreme, because he thinks he should be in the middle of a decision for your wife or your daughter when their life is at stake.”
Donnelly, one of a handful of elected Democrats who oppose abortion, makes exceptions in cases of rape, incest and when the mother’s life is in danger, the newspaper stated. Braun, though, has said he was “100 percent pro-life,” and opposes any exceptions for abortion, the Star reported.