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IN-Sen: Indiana Chamber of Commerce refuses to endorse either Senate candidate

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce will not endorse either the Republican or Democratic Senate candidates this year. Incumbent Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) (left) faces off against Republican candidate and businessman Mike Braun (right, with President Donald Trump). (Mark Wilson/Getty Images, Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce will not endorse either the Republican or Democratic Senate candidates this year, breaking with years of tradition in doing so.

What are the details?

According to a Tuesday report by The Indianapolis Star, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce has no plans to endorse either incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) or businessman and Republican candidate Mike Braun in the upcoming U.S. Senate race.

This is the first time that the chamber has not endorsed a candidate in about 10 years, covering the three prior U.S. Senate races. In all three Senate races, the chamber's political action committee endorsed the Republican candidate.

Kevin Brinegar, Indiana's Chamber of Commerce president, said that the chamber found issues with both candidates after interviewing them.

"The committee carefully examined the policy stances of Sen. Joe Donnelly and Mike Braun, concluding that for each candidate there was good alignment with Indiana Chamber efforts but also notable areas of disagreement," Brinegar explained. "Therefore, the decision reached was to remain neutral and make no endorsement in this race.”

Laura Wilson, a political scientist at the University of Indianapolis said that the chamber's decision to avoid endorsing a candidate could prove to be influential regardless.

"By refraining to endorse the Republican candidate by a generally Republican organization in a Republican state, I think Joe Donnelly and his camp have to see this as a small victory," Wilson explained.

Wilson went on to note that it's significant that the chamber would avoid a candidate endorsement this election cycle.

"Because this is a race we expect to be close, this is a race where an endorsement could matter," Wilson added. "And in this case, we won’t have one from the chamber."

Anything else?

Indiana’s Senate election in November is one of 10 “most likely to flip in 2018,” CNN noted in January.

At the time of this writing, the Cook Political Report calls the race a toss-up, as does Real Clear Politics.

Donnelly and Braun will face off in their first debate on Oct. 8. The second debate is set for Oct. 30.

You can read more about both candidates here.

One last thing…
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