Potential Senate Opponents Rokita, Donnelly Spar Over Comey Firing

May 10, 2017

Both sides accuse the other of politicizing the situation.
Credit Dave Newman / Flickr / flickr.com/photos/groovysoup/4505842946

Three Republican Indiana congressmen who’ve been rumored as possible opponents to Joe Donnelly (D-IN) in next year’s Senate race issued public statements Wednesday on the firing of FBI Director James Comey by President Donald Trump.

But just one – Rep. Todd Rokita (R-4th) – sent three separate e-mails, including one from his campaign which throws cold water on Donnelly for questioning the timing and motivation of Comey’s pink slip.

President Trump’s actions come as Comey was investigating possible links between Russian officials and people connected to the Trump campaign and the Trump White House.

Senator Donnelly issued a statement noting the curious timing.

Reps. Jim Banks (R-3rd) and Luke Messer (R-6th) pointed out in theirs that politicians of all stripes had lost faith in Comey.

Rokita’s e-mails attempt to take Democrats to task for what the Congressman says is disingenuous outrage aimed at scoring political points.

And one of the three messages -- all sent within a half-hour of each other Wednesday morning – pits Rokita’s campaign not against a potential Fourth District adversary, but against Donnelly.

In an e-mail, Rokita campaign spokesman Tim Edson confirms Rokita is considering a Senate run and accuses Donnelly of unfairly attacking Trump, even though Donnelly has advised the administration to avoid conflicts of interest by appointing a special prosecutor to investigate claims of Russian meddling. Edson also says Donnelly is "pandering to angry activists."

A statement from Donnelly campaign manager Peter Hanscom says the incumbent Senator is trying to “put politics aside” and urges Rokita and other lawmakers to “treat this issue with the seriousness it deserves" rather than “fundraise off the chaos and throw partisan bombs."