Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly hosts rally in South Bend

Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly// WSBT 22

Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly wants to keep his job in the U.S. Senate.

Donnelly walked off the bus to speak to an enthusiastic South Bend crowd Tuesday afternoon. People who voted for him six years ago are looking to do it again.

He touched on a number of topics including working with medical professionals to try and end the opioid epidemic. He also talked about the importance of the new St. Joseph County VA Center.

“What matters is we have your back, that we're in this together. That when we go, we travel together, we work together because we're not this group and that group we're Americans who love one another and care about one another,” said Senator Donnelly.

But this Senate race will be anything but easy-- Republican Representatives Luke Messer and Todd Rokita have both indicated they want to challenge Donnelly next year.

Experts say that this could be a difficult race.

"You would have a situation where the Republican candidates headed towards their primary, plus the various republican and conservative super packs and interest groups that are saying Donnelly is really a liberal elitist, look at all the times he was a congressman that he voted the way that Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama wanted him to vote for,” said Sean Savage at Saint Mary’s College.

Donnelly says he's the furthest thing from elitist.

"Every day my wife and I work hard to try to take care of our family, to make our community a little better of a place. And that's not elitist, that's the American way of life, that's what Hoosiers do," he said.

Savage says if the primary Republican race is nasty it could help sway split ticket voters.

"Split ticket voters might be more likely to vote for Donnelly, he might seem moderate enough, reasonable enough, experienced enough,” Savage said.

Though bi-partisanship could help his chances in Indiana. It could also be a big blow to his campaign.

"In other words, you can get hit both ways, the old saying in Texas politics the only thing in the middle of the road is yellow lines and dead armadillos,” Savage said.

Savage says that campaign funding could be difficult for Donnelly. With his stances on abortion and climate change resembling a conservative view, he's likely to receive no funding from those types of supporters.

This is just the start to a very long race to November 2018.

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