- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana is coming under fire from a conservative group for casting his vote against President Trump’s tax cuts — highlighting an issue that GOP leaders hope will help them defend their Senate majority and weaken Democrats in tough re-election races this fall.

Americans for Prosperity-Indiana announced it will start running television and digital ads this week attacking Mr. Donnelly’s opposition to the bill, accusing the Democrat of turning his back on Indiana small businesses and taxpayers who are reaping the benefits of the law.

“Sen. Joe Donnelly said he’d support tax cuts for hard-working Hoosiers,” the narrator says in the ad. “But when he had the chance, he said ‘no,’ voting against tax cuts for you — standing with [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer and [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi, instead of us.”

Will Baskin-Gerwin, spokesman for Mr. Donnelly’s re-election bid, said special interest ads bankrolled by out-of-state billionaires can’t hide the “fact” that the tax bill will “ultimately raise taxes on middle-class families to fund tax breaks for people like [GOP mega-donors Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch] and the rest of the 1 percent who’ll make millions more in profits.”

Mr. Donnelly drove home a similar message when the $1.5 trillion tax cut bill came up for a vote in December, saying he couldn’t support it because it did not do enough for the working class and failed to eliminate tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.

“The reasons I oppose this bill are plain and simple, clear and common sense: Instead of providing a tax cut that overwhelmingly benefits the middle class, this bill cuts taxes for the wealthiest Americans while raising taxes on a majority of families making less than $75,000 in the coming years,” Mr. Donnelly said at the time. “Instead of closing tax loopholes like the shameful one that allows Wall Street hedge fund managers to pay a lower tax rate than a Hoosier firefighter, than a Hoosier teacher, than a Hoosier policeman, or a Hoosier steelworker.”

Mr. Donnelly is seeking a second term in the November election in a state that Mr. Trump carried by nearly 20 percentage points in 2016.

Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita, as well as former state lawmaker Mike Braun, are among the field of candidates vying for the GOP nomination in the May 8 primary.

The winner will face-off against Mr. Donnelly in the fall. The race is viewed as a toss-up.

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