Don­nelly bid gets boost from Democrats

Lu­mi­nar­ies such as Joe Bi­den cam­paign for U.S. sen­a­tor

Post Tribune (Sunday) - - Front Page - By Craig Lyons

A Colorado sen­a­tor lauded Sen. Joe Don­nelly’s work in Wash­ing­ton, a sen­ti­ment shared by a string of Democrats aid­ing his re-elec­tion bid dur­ing re­cent vis­its to Lake County.

Demo­cratic U.S. Sen. Michael Ben­net, D-Colo., ral­lied sup­port for Don­nelly and down-bal­lot can­di­dates Thurs­day at a Lake County Demo­cratic Cen­tral Com­mit­tee fundraiser in Mer­ril­lville. Party of­fi­cials say na­tional po­lit­i­cal fig­ures, in­clud­ing an Oct. 12 Ham­mond visit by for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, want to help Don­nelly win re-elec­tion and know he plays an im­por­tant role in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

“I’m here be­cause I love Joe Don­nelly,” Ben­net said.

The Colorado sen­a­tor’s visit was one in a se­ries of na­tional politi­cians cam­paign­ing in In­di­ana in the closely watched race be­tween Don­nelly, Repub­li­can Mike Braun and Lib­er­tar­ian Lucy Bren­ton.

Bi­den, U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., and Tom Perez, chair­man of the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee, have all stumped for Don­nelly in North­west In­di­ana within the last month.

The same night Bi­den spoke in Ham­mond, Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence ral­lied Repub­li­can sup­port­ers in In­di­anapo­lis for Braun. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has twice vis­ited In­di­ana to sup­port Braun’s chal­lenge. Braun has not had any high-pro­file events in Lake or Porter coun­ties this fall.

Ben­net said ev­ery elec­tion is a chance for vot­ers to re­new their faith in the val­ues of the Found­ing Fa­thers or take a step back.

There are two types of politi­cians, Ben­nett said, the peo­ple who get elected and think the job is about them or those who go into an of­fice work­ing for the peo­ple. Ben­net said Don­nelly works for the peo­ple of In­di­ana.

“He is the ex­am­ple for the rest of us,” Ben­net said.

This elec­tion sea­son, there’s

dis­cus­sion about work­ing across the aisle to get things done in Con­gress, Ben­net said, but many don’t want to do that. Don­nelly knows how to talk to his Repub­li­can coun­ter­parts, Ben­net said.

“That’s why we need him now more than ever,” Ben­net said. “We need to send Joe Don­nelly back to the U.S. Se­nate where he be­longs.”

Don­nelly said his friends and col­leagues in Wash­ing­ton want to help his re-elec­tion bid, and see that peo­ple have access to good health care, con­tin­ued job growth and pro­tect the troops.

“My friends said, ‘Look, we want to help you in these ef­forts,’ ” Don­nelly said.

He said he was one of the de­cid­ing votes to keep pro­tec­tions for pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions in the Af­ford­able Care Act, a vote that Braun has used against the in­cum­bent sen­a­tor.

Don­nelly said his vote wasn’t about a po­lit­i­cal party but the kid in Lake Sta­tion with asthma and the woman in Crown Point with arthri­tis.

“We are Democrats be- cause we care about peo­ple,” Don­nelly said.

Jim Wieser, chair­man of the Lake County Demo­cratic Cen­tral Com­mit­tee, said he thinks the rea­son many of his con­gres­sional col­leagues are help­ing Don­nelly is that he’s known as a good and de­cent per­son. Wieser said that Kennedy said just that about Don­nelly dur­ing his visit.

“I think that res­onates with the lead­er­ship in Wash­ing­ton,” Wieser said.

The for­mer vice pres­i­dent last Fri­day said the Repub­li­cans con­trol­ling Con­gress have lost their way, and they no longer are putting their ideals and be­liefs ahead of par­ti­san pol­i­tics.

“Joe has more char­ac­ter in his lit­tle fin­ger than a vast ma­jor­ity of men and women I’ve worked with in my whole ca­reer,” Bi­den said, dur­ing the Ham­mond rally. “Joe is as good a man as I know.”

Wieser said the Demo- cratic Party un­der­stands the need to get vot­ers ex­cited about the elec­tion, and Don­nelly pre­vi­ously won Lake County with 70 per­cent of the vote.

Bi­den, Kennedy, Perez and Ben­net meet­ing with peo­ple in Lake County helps get them ac­tive, Wieser said.

“This is where this elec­tion gets done — right here in Lake County,” Don­nelly said.

SUZANNE TEN­NANT/POST-TRI­BUNE

U.S. Sen. Joe Don­nelly greet sup­port­ers dur­ing a Demo­cratic fundraiser Thurs­day at the Hel­lenic Cul­tural Cen­ter in Mer­ril­lville.

SUZANNE TEN­NANT/POST-TRI­BUNE

U.S. Sen. Michael Ben­net, D-Colo., speaks dur­ing a Demo­cratic fundraiser Thurs­day at the Hel­lenic Cul­tural Cen­ter in Mer­ril­lville.

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