Indiana GOP Senate candidate ties Donnelly to outsourcing in new ad

Indiana Republican Mike Braun, the businessman who is taking on Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyThis week: Kavanaugh nomination thrown into further chaos Doug Jones to McConnell: Don't 'plow right through' with Kavanaugh The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh MORE (D) in the state's pivotal Senate election, is pushing back on Democratic attacks on his business record with a new ad that tries to turn the tables and blame Donnelly for outsourcing.

Braun's campaign came out Wednesday with the new television ad, which seizes on last year's report that Donnelly's brother's company operated a factory in Mexico. The ad is meant to push back on attacks Donnelly's campaign leveled earlier this month that sought to tar Braun for his own connection to outsourcing.

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"Sen. Donnelly’s manufacturing company outsourced Hoosier jobs to Mexico so they could pay less than $1 an hour. Now he’s trying to cover it up by lying about Mike Braun," the Braun ad's narrator says in the new spot, obtained exclusively by The Hill.

"Mike has spent his life creating American jobs — only operating in America, only hiring Americans and paying nearly double the minimum wage starting out. 'Mexico Joe' will say anything."

The accusation refers to Stewart Superior Corporation, a Donnelly family company operated by the senator's brother. Donnelly's campaign has distanced itself from the company by arguing he hasn't held an active role in the company for two decades, well before the company made the decision to open the Mexico plant. And the senator sold his stock in the company after The Associated Press revealed the plant's existence.

But the connection is a centerpiece of the GOP attempts to hit Donnelly on the issue in a race that's become dominated by trade — it's been a regular part of attacks by Braun and GOP outside groups on the senator.

The Senate Leadership Fund and the National Republican Senatorial Committee have both leaned heavily on the revelation in their messaging on the race.

Earlier this week, the Donnelly campaign released its own ad accusing Braun of relying on foreign auto parts suppliers to sell in America.

Braun's campaign has swatted away those accusations with arguments like the ones his campaign made in its new ad, mainly that he's helped to stimulate Indiana's economy with his auto-part distribution company.

The air war is just the latest salvo in one of the most competitive Senate elections in the country. Donnelly is defending his seat in a state President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Judge suggests Trump’s tweet about Stormy Daniels was ‘hyperbole’ not defamation Rosenstein faces Trump showdown MORE won by 19 points in 2016.