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Donnelly Will Be Tough to Beat

I have some friendly advice for my Republican friends regarding Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly.  He is not going to be a pushover come next year. Allow me to elaborate.

Opioid abuse and veterans suicide.  We all know that no part of Indiana has been spared the impact of heroin, opioid, and prescription drug abuse.  In fact, I would argue they’ve had even more of devastating effect in the rural and suburban areas than in the “big city.”   Donnelly authored several measures that were part of the bi-partisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act to help communities hit hard by the heroin and opioid epidemic the help they need.  He did the same for veterans impacted by post-traumatic stress disorder.  Donnelly has worked to improve access and the quality of mental health for veterans and has done it in a bipartisan way.

Trump appointments.  Donnelly hasn’t been an automatic no vote.  In fact, a check of the record shows he voted for more Trump nominees than he voted against.  He voted for Trump’s nominees for Transportation, UN Ambassador, Homeland Security, Small Business Administration, CIA, Defense, Commerce and Veterans Affairs.   Donnelly voted against Trump’s nominees for Education, Treasury, Management and Budget, Health & Human Services, Attorney General and State.  It would have been a 50-50 split had Donnelly been present for a vote on Trump’s EPA pick, Scott Pruit, but he was in East Chicago with Governor Eric Holcomb for an emergency meeting on the lead contamination crisis hitting the city.

Constituent Service.   This is an area that can make or break an elected official.  And while Republicans may not be crazy about Donnelly, they all respect his office’s constituent service operations. They hit all 92 counties in 2016, either hosting or participating in more than 550 events in 122 cities over 223 days.   They also resolved more than 2,065 cases for Hoosiers that were having issues with the federal government and got more than $2.5 million in benefits to the people who needed them.  Donnelly also stood by the workers at Carrier and was extremely vocal about jobs sent overseas.

Now while all this help Donnelly, he is by no chance a shoe-in in 2018 as demonstrated by the 2016 results.  However, neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton will be on the ballot to either help or hurt the down the ballot races.   And although Indiana is a traditionally red state, Democrats can win here under the right circumstances.   And mid-term elections tend to benefit the party out of power.    I expect the Senate race to be extremely competitive.   My Republican friends should be well aware of that.  I can assure you Donnelly is.