The Senate race between incumbent U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Republican Mike Braun is fully underway as both men gear up for what’s likely to be a contentious campaign.
University of Indianapolis assistant professor of political science Laura Merrifield Wilson says job one for Braun is to move himself a little closer to the political center. And she says his biggest liability is, well, everything that was said during the bruising GOP primary.
"This primary for the Republicans was so contentious that you can’t expect to come out of a battle unscathed," Wilson says.
It’s likely the general election will get just as contentious. But Wilson says whether a negative campaign helps Braun or Donnelly depends on how it goes negative.
“The research shows that if it’s negative based on issues – and Donnelly so far, he’s focused on policy – if it’s negative based on issues, that resonates with voters," Wilson says.
Both Donnelly and Braun say they’re ready for a fight over the next six months.