Tags: west virginia | indiana | election | campaign

Rich Outsiders Look to Disrupt Senate Races

Rich Outsiders Look to Disrupt Senate Races
Former State Rep. Mike Braun (AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 05 December 2017 12:27 PM

Republican Senate hopefuls in West Virginia and Indiana will face two wealthy candidates who are financing their campaigns with their own money, The Hill reports.

Former Indiana state Rep. Mike Braun has loaned his own campaign for Senate almost $1 million to challenge sitting Reps. Todd Rokita and Luke Messer, who are both running in the Indiana Republican primary. They both also have about $2.4 million in funding.

Braun has talked himself up as the alternative choice, a non-politician in the vein of President Donald Trump.

"Politicians talk — that's all they do," he said in a campaign ad, his second, that came out last week. "President Trump was right, we need fewer career politicians in Washington — folks who actually live conservative values, who aren't beholden to special interests, and who put you first."

An unnamed but "prominent" Indiana Republican told the Hill: "I don't automatically think it's a three-person race. I think he needs to go a few more miles before that's the case. But I think anyone who throws in $800,000 of their own money on their first report will get people's attention."

Another businessman injecting their own money into a primary bid is coal executive Don Blankenship, who recently completed a one-year prison sentence for violation of mine safety rules, and is now preparing to run for Senate in West Virginia. He faces Rep. Evan Jenkins and state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in the Republican primary, and would then come up against incumbent Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin in the general election.

"He's a big personality. He's a big name. He's certainly well-funded and has a lot to say," an unnamed West Virginia Republican strategist told the Hill. "I think all those things contribute to a changed dynamic."

However, West Virginia University professor of political science Patrick Hickey speculated that Blankenship's campaign "is more of an ego trip for him than a serious candidacy," and that "it may not be to win as much as it is to both receive the attention and have . . . a platform through which he could rebuild his reputation in the state."

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Republican Senate hopefuls in West Virginia and Indiana will face two wealthy candidates who are financing their campaigns with their own money, The Hill reports.
west virginia, indiana, election, campaign
351
2017-27-05
Tuesday, 05 December 2017 12:27 PM
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