Trump sits out Indiana primary, voters split

Indiana voters are picking a Republican Senate nominee -- and they aren't receiving any recommendations from President Trump or Vice President Pence, who was governor of Indiana before joining the 2016 GOP ticket. CNN's John King reports.

Posted: May 9, 2018 4:17 PM
Updated: May 9, 2018 4:20 PM

The farm animals on the Henderson farm are pets, not moneymakers, so don't be offended by the barnyard humor.

One of the cows, who likes to race alongside Beth Henderson in her John Deere Gator, is named Big Mac.

In the barn, mixing it up with the alpacas, is a solo pig: Kevin Bacon.

There are crops on the property, one reason Beth is having second thoughts about President Donald Trump.

"We are in are involved in an agriculture business, and yeah, tariffs is a big deal," she said in an interview last week.

But it is more than policy.

"Well I think he's working on the security of the country, economics," Henderson says when asked what she likes about the President.

"I don't like his outbursts and his -- inappropriateness -- probably and his scruples. ... His values and just how he's so blasé about some of his behaviors. And it just doesn't bother him."

She's soured on Trump but her politics are still animated by the belief that attracted her to Trump in 2016: Washington is broken, and career politicians are to blame.

Her husband, Terry, briefly joined Indiana's GOP Senate field but dropped out because a businessman with deeper pockets jumped in. The Hendersons now support that businessman, Mike Braun, and Beth says the sentiment driving that support came up a lot during her husband's campaigning.

"Terry would stand up and introduce himself and say 'I'm an outsider, I'm a businessman' and people would say, 'We need that. We really need that. We need something new. We don't need career politicians.' And it was really building, the momentum was building. And you could see there was a true desire to have new blood."

Braun did serve in the state legislature, where his vote for a gas tax hike made him suspect among some conservatives. But Braun says the vote was for a GOP infrastructure plan. In a campaign of gimmicks and insults, he gets attention by traveling with cardboard cutouts of his opponents -- GOP US Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita, asking voters if they can tell who's who.

Trump has not endorsed in the primary, so his supporters are found in different camps. To talk to them is to be reminded of the anti-establishment mood that fueled his 2016 race, but also to see, even in ruby red Indiana, some cracks in the Trump 2016 coalition.

Raju Chinthala has no beef with Braun or Messer, but backs Rokita because the congressman also served as secretary of state -- proving he can win statewide.

Chinthala is a geriatric speech pathologist who also has helped the state expand business partnerships with his native India. He shakes his head at all the spending in Washington, and wants all Republicans to remember their promises. Though he initially supported Jeb Bush before backing Trump in 2016, he is solid with the President now.

"National security, I think he is doing a great job. The economy, he's doing a great job."

Every now and then a tweet makes him cringe, but Chinthala overall is in the let-Trump-be-Trump camp.

"I don't really think he cares if it harms or hurts him or hurts his re-election," Chinthala said. "I think people are liking it."

Henderson and Chinthala have no complaints when it comes to the economy. But other Trump voters encountered on a pre-primary visit to Indiana served to remind us a remarkably low unemployment rate doesn't mean everyone who wants a job has one or one that pays the bills -- especially compared to the jobs they've lost that have been shipped out of the country.

Renee Elliott voted for Trump after he, as a candidate, pushed Carrier to drop plans to ship most of its Indiana jobs to Mexico. But once the glare faded, the company did send many of the jobs across the border.

"He got a lot of votes," Elliott said.

"Do you feel burned?"

"Yeah, I feel burned for a number of reasons."

Elliott is still out of work. She had been leaning toward Messer in the Senate primary, but entered the final day undecided because it angered her that the final debate was dominated by pledges of loyalty to a President she believes gave up on her once he got into office.

"He's not Superman. He can't save everybody," she said. "But he could have stopped this. He was so vocal and so adamant."

Carrier is still open, but with fewer jobs. A Rexnord plant that also got candidate Trump's attention is closed, its jobs sent to Mexico.

Brian Bousum worked at the plant with his son, and was 11 weeks short of pension eligibility when it shuttered. He ignored his union and voted for the President, even though he was fairly certain then that his job would soon be gone.

"I voted for President Obama twice but I will say this about President Trump -- at least he brought it to the table."

Bousum makes $9 an hour less now, but is grateful for his new work as a plumber.

When he hears about prospects for a trade dispute with China, Bousum says perhaps the President's talk of tariffs will ultimately bring concessions from other trading partners.

But he sees a downsized Carrier, a closed Rexnord and other industrial strains, and he admits one side effect is less interest in politics.

He is skipping Tuesday's primary. The negative tone was a turnoff, he says, and he has "kind of lost faith" in the idea that it matters who gets sent to Washington.

That doesn't mean he has given up on the President. But he is clearly more skeptical.

"He's a politician now just like the rest of them, as he's saying one thing and doing another," Bousum said. "Today, if you were going to ask me, 'Do you support President Trump?' I would say yes, but I can't tell you that I would tomorrow. It just depends on what he gets done."

"I'll tell you, the first time I ever find out ... he was just kidding about saving American jobs or bringing industry back here, then of course I wouldn't support him."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33068

Reported Deaths: 2068
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9524558
Lake3494175
Cass15897
Allen141966
St. Joseph122134
Hendricks114268
Hamilton113292
Elkhart110128
Johnson1092106
Madison58459
Porter50522
Bartholomew49034
Clark47941
LaPorte42022
Tippecanoe3823
Howard37824
Delaware37636
Jackson3721
Shelby36822
Hancock32727
Floyd31739
Boone30535
Morgan27724
Vanderburgh2592
Montgomery23417
White2308
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Noble20421
Grant19721
Dubois1903
Harrison18921
Henry16910
Greene16824
Monroe16512
Warrick16528
Dearborn16521
Vigo1538
Lawrence15223
Miami1401
Putnam1357
Jennings1294
Orange12422
Scott1203
Ripley1106
Franklin1098
Kosciusko1011
Carroll933
Daviess8416
Steuben812
Marshall801
Newton7610
Wayne756
Fayette747
Wabash742
LaGrange682
Jasper661
Washington511
Jay490
Fulton471
Clay461
Rush452
Randolph453
Jefferson431
Pulaski410
Whitley383
Owen351
Sullivan341
DeKalb331
Brown331
Starke323
Perry280
Wells270
Benton260
Huntington262
Knox250
Tipton241
Crawford230
Blackford222
Parke190
Spencer191
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Posey160
Gibson142
Adams131
Ohio130
Warren121
Vermillion100
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0161

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33915

Reported Deaths: 2098
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin5566253
Cuyahoga4211226
Marion264225
Hamilton2555135
Lucas2178240
Pickaway204836
Mahoning1397173
Summit1335172
Butler84728
Stark70591
Columbiana68451
Lorain66759
Montgomery63717
Trumbull55147
Belmont41212
Miami35230
Warren35119
Tuscarawas3373
Ashtabula32434
Portage31857
Medina31322
Delaware31013
Lake29012
Wood28246
Geauga27231
Wayne26049
Fairfield2515
Clark2345
Licking22210
Allen20632
Clermont2025
Mercer2016
Richland1933
Erie1656
Darke16221
Madison1487
Washington11819
Crawford1103
Morrow1041
Greene1015
Ottawa9312
Putnam8814
Monroe7512
Sandusky7211
Hocking694
Ross672
Jefferson662
Auglaize653
Huron561
Williams511
Hancock512
Union491
Muskingum480
Clinton430
Hardin420
Shelby403
Fayette390
Wyandot382
Logan370
Fulton370
Coshocton370
Guernsey340
Defiance332
Preble331
Carroll303
Lawrence290
Holmes291
Brown281
Champaign271
Knox231
Highland221
Seneca202
Vinton192
Ashland190
Athens181
Perry181
Henry150
Scioto150
Jackson130
Paulding130
Harrison100
Adams81
Gallia71
Van Wert60
Pike60
Meigs60
Noble50
Morgan50
Unassigned00
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