All Indiana GOP Senate candidates declare victory in Sunday debate

Rep. Luke Messer, former State Rep. Mike Braun, and Rep. Todd Rokita all threw their hats into the ring to run for Sen. Joe Donnelly's seat in 2018. (official photos)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Indiana Republicans running for U.S. Senate weighed in on the strikes on Syria, arming teachers and Trump's stance on DACA during a GOP debate ahead of the May primary.

Mike Braun, Luke Messer and Todd Rokita said they all agreed with President Trump's use of military force after the chemical attacks on innocent people in Syria.

"I think he hit it right on the money," said Mike Braun. "He did the right response and kept within context that we do not want to get entangled in other disputes in the mideast."

"I completely support President Trump," said Todd Rokita. "We are doing the opposite of President Obama. We are not leading from behind anymore and the rest of the world is noticing."

"The president drew a red line on chemical weapons in Syria," said Luke Messer. "And when that line was crossed, this president showed strength and responded in a measured way."

All three candidates spent much of Sunday's debate trying to prove they each were more in line with President Trump and his policies.

All three called Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election a "witch hunt." All three said they support arming teachers in the classroom. All three said they support Trump's stance on DACA and his handling of tariffs in China.

But this campaign has been nothing short of nasty so far, and there were plenty of attacks and jabs in Sunday's debate.

After the debate ended, all three campaigns sent out emails declaring their wins.

Similar to his statements during the debate, Messer's victory statement said, "Luke Messer won tonight's Indiana Senate debate and touted his strong record of support for President Trump's agenda...In Congress, Messer has the highest rating of support for President Trump of all of his opponents in the U.S. Senate race."

Messer's campaign also went on to say Hoosiers do not deserve Democratic candidate Joe Donnelly because he "tells Hoosiers he's conservative, but he goes to Washington and votes with Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer 85 percent of the time."

Rokita's campaign sent this statement:

Conservative Hoosiers saw a clear choice tonight: Todd Rokita, the conservative fighter who will be an ally for President Trump, or a pro-Amnesty tax-hiker like Luke Messer, or a lifelong Democrat tax-hiker like Mike Braun," said Hoosiers for Rokita spokesperson Nathan Brand. "This election will come down to who Hoosier conservatives trust to fight for them and tonight's debate could not have made that choice more clear - Todd Rokita is the trusted conservative to defeat Joe Donnelly.

As for Braun, his campaign's statement said he won because he's the only candidate "who will help President Trump drain the swamp.

Mike Braun is a businessman, an outsider, a conservative, and that’s exactly why Hoosiers are flocking to his campaign to defeat Joe Donnelly and fix Washington.