LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Lafayette is playing a role in the race for U.S. Senate as Republican Congressman Todd Young uses the Subaru of Indiana Automotive plant as a leg up on his opponent, Democrat Evan Bayh.
Young toured SIA Thursday afternoon, but he wasn’t alone. Former Lt. Gov. John Mutz was with him.
Mutz admits his visit to the Lafayette plant is a bit ironic, considering he lost against Young’s opponent, Evan Bayh in the race for governor back in 1988.
Many say Mutz’s support for the Subaru plant was the reason he lost that election.
“Clearly, Lt. Gov. John Mutz was right and Evan Bayh was dead wrong,” said Young.
Congressman Young called out Bayh for campaign ads dating nearly 30 years ago, claiming the Subaru plant in Lafayette was a bad idea.
“People were really interested in new jobs, new investments and so forth,” said Mutz. “But underlying this was an anti-Japanese sentiment mainly left over from the second World War.”
Mutz said Bayh played on that sentiment when he ran negative ads back in 1988. Congressman Young agrees.
“There’s no question that that campaign was designed to scare Hoosiers,” said Young. “And there’s also no question that that campaign is very much like the campaign Evan Bayh is running right now.”
But Bayh’s campaign said Young went negative first.
“It’s been negative ever since Evan Bayh entered this race,” said Dan Parker, a spokesman for Bayh. “And you know, it’s not xenophobic to stand up for Hoosier workers.”
But Parker admits Bayh did fight the incentives for Subaru in the beginning.
“In that particular case, which is 28 years ago, he thought the incentives were pretty extravagant,” said Parker. “In this particular case, Todd Young had voted twice to allow companies that ship jobs overseas to take tax breaks and we have a big example of that here in Indianapolis of Carrier, where they’re shipping jobs to Mexico.”
Congressman Young was 17 years old when the first model was made by the Lafayette plant.
“I think it’s illustrative of one’s judgement,” said Young. “I think since I’m running on my record, it’s only fair that others run on their record.”
SIA Senior Executive Vice President Tom Easterday complimented Young’s record, saying he’s done an excellent job as a congressman and hopefully a senator.
“As long as he’s working on ending some of those regulations and rolling back some of those things that have been counterproductive to business,” said Easterday.
SIA currently employs more than 5,200 people and is investing in a $1.3 billion expansion. Young is hoping this information will enlighten voters in his race against a very recognizable name.
“I’m not running on my dad’s name,” said Young, referring to Bayh’s father and his political history. “I’m running on my dad’s values.”
In the latest poll taken mid-July, just after Bayh entered the race, Bayh was dominating Young with a 55-33 lead.