By Chris Sikich
U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is in Carmel today on behalf of 5th Congressional District candidate Susan Brooks.
Cantor is attending a fundraiser for fellow Republican Brooks, who is seeking to replace the retiring Dan Burton. Cantor is not making any public appearances.
He's not the first high-ranking GOP official to campaign on behalf of Brooks. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie made a stop in Fishers before the May primary.
Brooks' opponent, Scott Reske, seized upon the opportunity to host a news conference Downtown. Reske is a state representative from Pendleton.
"Eric Cantor, a member of Congress from another state who is determined to
undermine Social Security and Medicare, will be here later today to campaign for my opponent," Reske said this morning. "His visit highlights the stark differences between my opponent and me."
Brooks, when approached with the statement, countered that Cantor "has shown the kind of leadership we need to tackle our nation's challenges, and I am pleased that he is visiting Indiana today to support my candidacy."
Reske and Brooks also traded barbs over the GOP-backed Paul Ryan budget plan, which Brooks supports and Reske, a Democrat, of course does not.
Reske said: "Unfortunately, both Cantor and Susan Brooks have expressed their support for the Ryan Plan, which would dismantle Social Security and move Medicare to a voucher system. I will work to protect Social Security and
Brooks would have none of it, charging back: "Rep. Reske is using a familiar Democrat campaign tactic from his years of service: misrepresent where your opponent stands on an issue by making false claims and engaging in scare tactics. Instead of looking for solutions or even engaging in a rational discussion about the future of our country, Rep. Reske and his Democrat colleagues show that they are OK with the current course of Medicare and Social Security -- when the fact is that in their current form they are on path to bankruptcy."
Expect the election rhetoric to continue to heat up between Reske and Brooks as the November election draws near. While the 5th District has long been a Republican stronghold, Reske won't let Brooks take it for granted. He hopes to appeal to moderate and independent voters.