INDIANAPOLIS — Sen. Joe Donnelly will fly home to Indiana aboard Air Force One with Donald Trump on Wednesday to catch the president’s speech pitching a federal tax overhaul plan.
“It’s an honor to welcome President Trump to Indiana, and I hope he has an opportunity to hear directly from Hoosiers on an issue that impacts not only our families but our economy,” Donnelly said in a statement Tuesday.
The trip is a continuation of a campaign by Trump’s administration that is alternately attempting to woo and strong-arm Donnelly into supporting the GOP’s tax cut efforts.
Donnelly is one of three vulnerable Senate Democrats up for re-election in 2018 who represent states that Trump won. Earlier this month, Donnelly joined Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia for a working dinner with Trump at the White House focused on the Republican tax overhaul.
Last week, Vice President Mike Pence traveled home to Indiana to similarly pressure Donnelly during a speech in Anderson.
“Indiana needs this tax cut. Hardworking Hoosiers need this tax cut,” Pence said to Donnelly, who was in attendance. “So Joe, let’s decide today we’re going to get this tax cut done and we’re going to get it done together.”
The Democrat has mostly brushed it off and says he’s willing to work with Trump.
“I’ve said all along that I support a tax cut for the middle class, a tax effort that’s focused on creating more jobs and opportunities,” Donnelly said after Pence’s speech.
Trump is set to speak at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and is expected to outline parts of his tax overhaul plan.
Though Donnelly will be in attendance, Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb won’t.
Same goes for Republican Rep. Todd Rokita, a candidate in the GOP Senate primary, who is vying for a chance to unseat Donnelly in 2018. Rokita has based his campaign largely around an appeal to Trump voters.
“Rep. Rokita looks forward to hearing President Trump outline his plans for bold tax reform. As of now, he will watch President Trump’s speech from DC as the House is expected to have late afternoon votes on Wednesday,” campaign spokesman Tim Edson said.
Holcomb, meanwhile, says he has a prior commitment to attend a Naval Seal Foundation event in Chicago. The Republican governor, who served in the Navy, says the annual dinner has been on his schedule for months.
Rep. Luke Messer, another candidate in the GOP Senate primary, will also not be flying to Indiana aboard Air Force One, though his campaign says the congressman plans on attending the speech.
“Of course I’ll be there. I’m excited to have President Trump in Indiana to discuss his tax plan,” Messer said in a statement. “American workers need a raise and I look forward to working with the President to make sure they get one.”