A leading candidate in the Republican primary race for Northwest Indiana’s congressional seat released a new campaign ad Wednesday branding her most prominent opponent as a “Never Trump Liberal.”
Jennifer-Ruth Green, of Crown Point, also claims in the 30-second commercial set to air on Fox News and streaming platforms that former LaPorte Mayor Blair Milo “struggled” to decide between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, and failed to support Trump’s strict immigration policies.
“Blair Milo claims she is a conservative. Don’t be fooled,” the ad warns.
It then shifts to a positive depiction of Green, declaring her “the real conservative for Congress” and highlighting Green’s experience as an Air Force combat veteran, endorsement by Indiana Right to Life and top-rating from the National Rifle Association.
“Green will fight woke insanity and advance Trump’s ‘America First’ policies,” the ad promises.
The Green campaign said voters deserve to know the differences between Green and Milo as they head to the polls with less than two weeks remaining until the May 3 Republican primary election.
“No matter how much she tries to rewrite history and fool Republicans, Milo’s attacks on Trump’s immigration policies, her long record of hiking taxes and her opposition to honoring the will of Republicans who nominated President Trump in 2016 disqualify her from being the Republican nominee for Congress,” said Ashleigh Presnar, Green’s campaign manager.
Green’s accusation that Milo struggled over supporting Trump six years ago is accurate based on contemporary reporting in The Times and other news publications.
Specifically, records show Milo withdrew as a delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention to avoid voting to officially designate Trump as the Republican presidential nominee.
“I was not convinced casting a vote for the presumptive nominee was something I could stand behind,” Milo said at the time.
“I felt if I’m not going to be able to serve in the full capacity as a voting delegate because of my own reservations about the decisions that were going to have to be made, then I needed to forgo attending the event and provide the opportunity to another who would feel more comfortable with it.”
But Milo insisted after Green’s ad came out Wednesday that she twice voted for Trump for president and otherwise has “a perfect Republican vote history.”
She’s also expressed Trump-like doubts about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and has called for further investigations of the result “to ensure that people feel trust in the electoral process.”
In addition, Milo noted Green most recently participated in a primary election by voting a Democratic ballot in 2018 — echoing a fact repeatedly cited by Mark Leyva, of Highland, another prominent candidate in the GOP congressional race.
“Jennifer-Ruth Green last voted in a primary as a Democrat yet wants us to nominate her for Congress?” Milo asked.
Milo said she reached out to Green last week suggesting they both remain focused on key policies in the final days of the campaign, only to be told Green already had decided to go negative and would be targeting Milo as the GOP campaign comes to an end.
“It was my hope this primary could remain positive and focused on issues. Jennifer-Ruth has rejected that approach and instead chosen a negative campaign, which is a clear sign she thinks she’s losing,” Milo said.
Milo also expressed concern that Green’s negative campaigning could jeopardize the hard work of Northwest Indiana Republicans to finally put the Region’s congressional seat within reach after nine consecutive decades of losses.
Indeed, two organizations that predict the outcome of the nation’s 435 U.S. House contests every two years recently reclassified Indiana’s 1st Congressional District of Lake, Porter and northwest LaPorte County, including Milo’s hometown of LaPorte, as “Leans Democratic,” instead of “Likely Democratic.”
Both the Cook Political Report and Sabato’s Crystal Ball said the changes reflect the participation of Green and Milo, quality Republican candidates capable of raising money, who may have a chance to knock off first-term U.S. Rep. Frank J. Mrvan, D-Highland, if it turns out to be a better than expected year for the GOP.
Kyle Hupfer, chairman of the Indiana Republican Party, said he believes Hoosier Republicans are ready to send the message that Mrvan is through.
“It’s clear voters in Indiana’s First Congressional District are tired of the failed policies of the Joe Biden-Frank Mrvan agenda that are fueling skyrocketing inflation,” Hupfer said.
It’s not yet known whether or how the forecast will shift if, for example, Leyva wins the GOP nomination, as he has in eight Northwest Indiana congressional elections since 2002.
Also running in the GOP primary are Martin Lucas, of Schererville; Nicholas Pappas, of Portage; Ben Ruiz, of East Chicago; and Aaron Storer, of Schererville.
Either way, Mrvan is certain to have more money in the bank heading into the general election campaign than either Green, Milo or Leyva following the bruising Republican primary.
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