Senate race ad war begins

Eric Holcomb, Marlin Stutzman and Todd Young are running for U.S. Senate in 2016.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A big money battle for the GOP U.S. Senate nomination is starting to show up in your living room.

It’s the battle to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Dan Coats on the Republican ballot.

There are three candidates and two of them will be on TV beginning Monday.

The ad war has begun more than three months in advance of the May primary.

“Meet the tough, pro-life conservative, Todd Young,” says the narrator of a Young ad.

It hits the air next week, and a spokesman for the Young campaign says the southern Indiana congressman plans to stay on the air until the May primary.

“I think you’ll see a pretty consistent message from us that Todd is the right guy at the right time,” said campaign manager Trevor Foughty. “He embraces Hoosier values and at the same time Hoosiers have embraced his campaign.”

“I’ve been to all 92 counties, many of them two or three times,” said former Mitch Daniels aide Eric Holcomb.

He won’t reveal his television plans but says there’s more to this race than TV.

“There’s different ways to introduce to the electorate and to each their own,” he said, “but I have preferred to make sure I’m connecting in person, on the ground at this point of the campaign.”

“In a capital filled with lawyers,” says the narrator of a Marlin Stutzman ad, “we need a farmer. Conservative Marlin Stutzman.”

Stutzman’s ads have already been on for more than a week. He’s a congressman running as an outsider.

“Marlin is the conservative,” said campaign manager Josh Kelley, “and it shows he’s the guy who’s ready to go to Washington and fight the broken system that continues to fail the American people.”

All three candidates are well known to party regulars but little known to the general public.

It’s why TV will be a big factor in the race.

Unless the presidential nomination fight makes its way to Indiana, the GOP U.S. Senate race will be the biggest story of primary election night.

The winner will face Democrat Baron Hill in November.

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