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U.S. Representative Todd Rokita announces run for Senate

WSBT 22

U.S. Representative Todd Rokita will run for the Senate.

If he gets the Republican support, he'll most likely challenge Senator Joe Donnelly.

He began his campaign Wednesday. He says he wants to run for the Senate seat for many reasons.

Rokita told a group in Elkhart there's a lot of wrongs that need to be righted and that he's the person to do it.

He took a tour of the Kem Krest Plant in Elkhart.

Rokita says President Trump and Vice President Pence need more support in Senate. He says just one senate vote can be powerful when it comes to policy.

One of his main agenda items is repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

"President Trump and Vice President Pence have an excellent agenda that I believe, as I go around this state, is fully supported by Hoosiers and frankly, fully supported by Americans and what they need now is a partner, another partner in the senate to get things done,” said Rokita.

Donnelly's campaign says: "Joe Donnelly has built his career on reaching across the aisle to find the best solutions for Hoosiers. He's worked every single day to strengthen his connection to the people he represents."

Congressman Luke Messer and four others are also running for the Republican nomination.

Political experts say this race is crucial. Whoever wins could greatly impact the control the Republicans have in the Senate.

Right now, the GOP has a four seat advantage.

Experts say, like in the case of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, that majority isn't enough.

"The reason that the race is so important, not just locally, but nationally is because it is one of the handful of races that will determine who will control the Senate and also how large that majority will be and as we've seen recently even small defections can make a big difference in public policy,” said Elizabeth Bennion, IU South Bend Political Science Professor.

Experts say campaign spending in this race could top $100 million.

A familiar name to many of us hasn't ruled out a bid for Senate. Republican Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill says he hasn't ruled out a bid and said stayed tuned.

The Republican served several terms as Elkhart County Prosecutor before winning the AG position back in November.

Many of Hill's tough-on-crime stances are close to those pushed by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

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