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Washington Examiner: Luke Messer launches his first TV ad in Indiana Senate primary

Indiana Rep. Luke Messer doesn’t do much talking in his first Senate campaign ad. He leaves that to his daughters in a clip scheduled to air Thursday ahead of the May 8 Republican primary.

The 30-second spot, obtained first by the Washington Examiner, stars Ava and Emma Messer, who tell voters they want to introduce their dad before the airwaves are flooded with news—and “fake news”—about the Senate race.

“That’s why we’re here to give you the truth about our dad,” Emma says as a picture of the president shaking hands with Messer flashes across the screen. “He’s a conservative, a big advocate for President Trump’s agenda.”

“You see him on TV … we hear it every day in the car on the way to school,” Ava adds before repeating the family motto: “Family first. Country always. Faith forever.” Emma concludes that that’s why “he’s a great dad and why he’ll be a great senator, too.”

If it seems a bit homespun, that’s on purpose. Messer is making a conscious effort to stay positive and to create as much of a contrast between himself and his two Republican opponents as possible.

Rep. Todd Rokita debuted on Indiana airwaves last week with an attack ad aimed at “liberal elites,” featuring a grab bag of conservative boogeymen like NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

Former state Sen. Mike Braun has been airing an ad featuring images of two Indiana men killed by an illegal immigrant in a hit and run accident earlier this year. That political advertising hasn’t been entirely well received. Recently, the family of one of the deceased called it “devastating.”

There’s nothing to find objectionable in the Messer ad, though. It avoids controversy and keeps the focus on the conservative congressman instead.

Voters will see the spot on local television first in Fort Wayne and South Bend. Digital versions will roll out on social media. The entire blitz will cost the Messer campaign nearly a quarter of a million dollars.

Once the ad goes live, the Indiana primary will be in full swing. The three candidates met for their first debate two weeks ago, a reunion of sorts considering the fact that all are alumni of Wabash College in Indiana. Each has struggled to pull ahead, and the race largely remains a three-way tie.