RJC makes $1 million ad buy in Indiana to oppose former Rep. John Hostettler

The campaign was announced the same day AIPAC’s super PAC announced its own spending campaign, a sign of strong pro-Israel concern about the under-the-radar race

Douglas Graham/Roll Call/Getty Images

Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN)

The Republican Jewish Coalition announced a $1 million ad buy in Indiana’s 8th Congressional District to oppose former Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN), in a new signal of the pro-Israel community’s growing concern about the previously under-the-radar race.

The day of the RJC’s announcement, AIPAC’s United Democracy Project super PAC began a $500,000 ad campaign in the district, its first in a competitive Republican primary. RJC has not run television ads in a competitive primary in years, since it helped oust Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who openly expressed white supremacist sympathies, suggesting a significant degree of concern about Hostettler’s candidacy.

RJC’s campaign will also support Republican state Sen. Mark Messmer, whom RJC spokesperson Sam Markstein described as the strongest candidate in the wide field to beat Hostettler.

“We are deeply troubled by John Hostettler’s past record and RJC is committed to ensuring he does not get back to Congress,” RJC CEO Matt Brooks said in a statement. “Hostettler has consistently opposed vital aid to Israel, trafficked antisemitic conspiracy theories, and voted against a 2000 resolution which supported Israel and condemned Palestinian leadership over the violence of the second Intifada.”

UDP’s spending was likewise prompted by Hostettler’s voting history on Israel while in office and accusations of antisemitism.

“RJC has a long history of taking on the tough fights — including within our own party — and winning,” Brooks continued. “We will work hard every day through Indiana’s Primary Day on May 7 to add John Hostettler’s defeat to the list.”

RJC’s PAC website currently includes a link for supporters to donate to another rival candidate in the race, Dominick Kavanaugh, but not a formal endorsement for Kavanaugh. Markstein said the PAC would soon be adding an option for supporters to donate to Messmer.

Subscribe now to
the Daily Kickoff

The politics and business news you need to stay up to date, delivered each morning in a must-read newsletter.