LAWRENCE, Ind. – He campaigned for a border wall, opposed the "radical left" and quoted both Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan in his campaign ads.
Joe Donnelly, trying to keep his seat in the Senate here in Indiana, is a Democrat – but that's not a word that's common in election campaigns.
"You have to run at a party because you have to stand in the ballot. But it's over on the night the elections are over, "he said in an interview in front of an early polling center last week before putting down a line he likes to repeat. "I am not a Democratic Senator or Republican Senator. I serve everyone in our state. "
Speech like this has become a defining feature of Donnelly's in this re-election campaign as he competes against Mike Braun, a businessman who has bonded with the president. Donnelly is one of five Senate Democrats governing a state that Trump won in double-digit territory in 2016 – a 19-point victory here. Donnelly is trying to restore the coalition of workers and moderate Republicans in the Donut counties around Indianapolis, who drove his victory in 2012 and four years later from Trump.
Donnelly – like Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill in Missouri, who tried to break with parts of her party by saying she was not one of those crazy Democrats – has been trying to distance herself from the extreme left of her party and some from Trump to embrace politics. In a recent debate, he said he was open to changing firstborn citizenship and told an audience, "We need to look at this legislation." He was also a staunch supporter of a border wall with Mexico and voted for funding three times and criticized the top Chamber because she has not provided the money for Trump's signature policy.
Donnelly and his party voted against the appointment of the Brett M. Kavanaugh Supreme Court, but unlike Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, a Democrat running in a Trump state who won 36 points, he did no fundraising blessing from it. In the first half of October he collected $ 1.4 million. Heitkamp, whose No to Kavanaugh had fueled the Liberals, brought together $ 12 million over the same period.
In the campaign, Donnelly raised $ 16.1 million for Braun's $ 17 million. The two are basically tied in the polls. The President and his deputies, including Vice President Pence, of Indiana, have visited the state to bluff for Braun. This includes a visit by the President on Friday, when he said Democrats want caravans to "flood illegally into our country".
In a statement to the rally Donnelly stated that he has voted 62 percent with Trump. He said, "I hope President Trump will come back next year so I can welcome him back to Indiana after his re-election Tuesday."
Donnelly also receives aid from high-ranking Democrats, including visits by former Vice President Joe Biden and on Sunday, former President Barack Obama.
Pete Buttigieg, the Democratic mayor of South Bend, who is mentioned as president of the presidential card, said the party was better for Donnelly's presence.
"He needs to address a broad base, and it's a healthy thing that our party has a wide range and people who think for themselves," said Buttigieg.
But, Buttigieg said he would not turn to Donnelly for progressive questions.
"One thing you quickly learn as a mayor is that you do not have to tell a group something that you've been embarrassed about when you've repeated yourself to another group because you'll see every day every day," said he.
Until recently, Indiana had a number of Democratic state representatives and opted for moderate Republicans in the form of six-year-old Sen. Richard Lugar, whom his successor Donnelly calls a "mentor." The state also voted for Barack Obama in 2008. In 2016, however, Hillary Clinton won three out of 92 counties in Indiana, while Trump received 56 percent of the vote.
Donnelly's last opponent in 2012 was tea party candidate Richard Mourdock, who got a big surprise by beating Lugar in the GOP raid. However, after he said that rape was "something God intended during the election campaign," he said. These circumstances gave Donnelly a victory of 150,000 votes – and the call of colleagues to be a "random" senator. A win this year may be more difficult, both because of Braun's candidacy and because of the state's postponement.
"This Senate race this year is important because it identifies this state as either republican it has ever been, or it will be traditional: centrist, moderate and destined for split-ticket voting," said Robert Schmuhl. Emeritus Professor of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. "It's not clear what the anti-Washington Trump impulse means to Donnelly."
Some voters reject Donnelly's efforts to take positions of both parties.
"I'm crazy, but I think politicians should be one thing," said Susan Lucas, 74, a retired bank clerk and museum director, a Republican who voted for Donnelly in 2012. At first, "I'm a Republican," they should stay at the party. "She said she was apt to vote for Braun.
Some accepted Donnelly's bipartisan activity as necessary in the context of an increasingly republican state. Michael Wilson, 40, an ordinary ticket splitter who owns a gourmet grocery store, said he'll vote for Donnelly for rejecting Trump.
"There are a few things with Donnelly that I understand why he did what he did, I understand the decisions he made, but I was a bit restless," he said. "Still, I think Donnelly did a good job. He is in a tense situation. "
But others said they were not sure where Donnelly's support had left him politically. Eric Sexton, a dealer in truck equipment who wants to vote for Mike Braun, said, "I usually do not just vote for Republicans. , , but at this point I just want someone who is Trump or not Trump. I want to see someone who promotes the business and does not create any obstacles. I want to choose someone who will be predictable. I do not think voters need the unpredictable. "
Outside the First Electoral Center, Donnelly did not seem to be convinced of this criticism, saying that the values of both parties were Hoosier values.
He said that like Trump, he talks about jobs and problems that affect families and their ability to make ends meet. Again, he has tied himself to the president and remembers a conversation with Trump in the President's plane last September.
"He said," I heard you will be really hard to beat. "I said:" You bet, 100%, Mr. President, and here is the reason. Those voters who voted for you, the union mason, the firefighter, and the mother at home – before they were ever Donald Trump voters, they were Joe Donnelly voters, and in 2018 they're Joe voters again, "said Donnelly.