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Riding on RV Tour, Washington Post finds bipartisan support for Joe

“I would say if I were in his shoes, he’s done exactly what I would have done”

INDIANAPOLIS - Traveling with Joe for the second day of his “Hoosier Highways” RV tour last week, the Washington Post found Joe working with both parties as he traveled through east-central Indiana early in his re-election campaign. Joe continues to find commonsense ways to work with the President on trade, jobs and the opioids crisis, but isn't afraid to break with him on things like his Charlottesville response. His work crossing the state, listening to Hoosiers’ concerns and fighting for workers, will strengthen his path to victory over the next 15 months.

Here’s what the Post found as Joe started his campaign:

“At the highway project, Donnelly basked in the praise of the local mayor, who said that if the senator hadn’t made a phone call to the railroad, the project might still be entangled in red tape.

That’s the kind of prudent, results-oriented governing Donnelly ran on when he pulled off his unlikely 2012 victory, and it’s the image he hopes voters will have in mind when they cast their ballots next year. But he is frequently reminded that his reelection isn’t just going to be about roads and bridges."

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“But political observers in Indiana say it would be a mistake to dismiss Donnelly’s victory. They credited a skillful campaign that positioned the Democrat as a bipartisan problem-solver — including TV spots where he literally stood in the middle of a road to play up his centrist outlook. Current public polling is scarce, but strategists cite past surveys and anecdotal evidence indicating Donnelly has built a genuine bipartisan following.

“Donnelly won by six points because of the rape comment, but he didn’t win because of the rape comment,” said Christine Matthews, who polled the 2012 race and has worked for numerous Republican candidates in Indiana.

Donnelly’s message is well-calibrated to a state that is 85 percent white and has seen a decline in low-skill manufacturing jobs, and where three-quarters of the population have no more than a high school degree. It involves a major focus on the effects of foreign trade, highlighting his work on the Armed Services and Agriculture committees, and a hefty dose of reverence for service members and veterans.”

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“Greg Beumer, a Republican state lawmaker, attended the event and had little ill to say about Donnelly. Many Republicans were “scratching their heads,” he said, at why Messer and Rokita would risk safe seats to take on Donnelly, “who by and large has done a very good job of being that moderate voice in the Senate.”

Beumer wouldn’t say whether he would vote for the Democrat, but he said moderate Republican voters will be “up for grabs” next year. “I would say if I were in his shoes, he’s done exactly what I would have done,” Beumer said.”

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“Donnelly has been most outspoken on economic issues, introducing an “End Outsourcing Act” and waging war against Carrier Corp.’s decision to move hundreds of jobs from an Indianapolis furnace factory to Mexico — a crusade that Trump later joined, culminating in a dramatic announcement in November that the then-president-elect had brokered a deal to keep most of the jobs intact.

Those bombastic promises did not completely pan out — Carrier  more than 600 workers last month — but while other Democrats have lambasted Trump for a bait-and-switch, Donnelly doesn’t. “There’s more jobs that stayed after he got involved than there was before he got involved,” he said.”

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