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Donnelly rolls out "Republicans for Joe"

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Joe Donnelly is looking to win over moderate Republicans in the midterms by rolling out a campaign this week to prove he has reached across the aisle while in the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Donnelly may have momentum rallying his base on the blue team, but will his message connect with conservative voters?

Coming off the state’s Democratic Party convention, his camp rolled out “Republicans for Joe” this week in Indianapolis.

But Republicans in St. Joseph County say they aren’t buying it.

“I know that people who are really Republicans, who really believe in the conservative principles that are the foundational principles in which the party was built, would not be supporting Donnelly,” said Lynn Fitzpatrick, St. Joseph County Republican Party chair.

The senator is making a case to all voters by claiming a bipartisan approach to lawmaking.

The Lugar Center ranked Donnelly the 4th most bipartisan U.S. Senator in 2017.

“That’s the best ticket that Donnelly has to saving his seat is to try to align himself with Republicans at times and try to portray himself as someone who’s reasonable, who’s open to compromise,” said Rick Klein, ABC News political director. “He can’t be a down-the-line, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi democrat and survive in Indiana.”

President Trump and Vice President Pence are expected to campaign quite a bit in Indiana against the Democratic incumbent.

So he’ll have to do a lot more convincing, in order to win over more people in a state that voted for the president in 2016 by nearly 19 points.

“He would have to convert to becoming a Republican,” said Fitzpatrick. “So I invite Donnelly, if he’s really bipartisan, then reject the extreme leftist, progressive policies of the Democratic Party, and why doesn’t he join us?”

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