EXCLUSIVE: GOP House Candidate Takes Aim At Republican Opponent Over Illegal Immigration In New Ad


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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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Republican candidate Dominick Kavanaugh, who is running for Indiana’s 8th Congressional District, is launching an advertisement on Tuesday criticizing Republican state Sen. Mark Messmer over his record on illegal immigration, the Daily Caller News Foundation first learned.

Kavanaugh and Messmer are among eight Republicans vying for the seat held by GOP Rep. Larry Bucshon, who announced in January he’d be retiring at the end of his term. The Republican’s ad slams Messmer for co-sponsoring legislation in 2022 that would allow illegal aliens to “apply for a driving card learner’s permit and driving card to obtain driving privileges,” as well as co-authoring a 2023 bill stating that “an individual who meets certain conditions is eligible for the resident tuition rate as determined by the state educational institution.” (RELATED: Indiana GOP Rep Joins Long List Of Republican Lawmakers Leaving Congress)

“Mark Messmer co-sponsored a bill to allow illegal immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses and in-state tuition for colleges in Indiana. Now he wants to represent us in Congress?” the ad says. “We have a better choice in Dominick Kavanaugh, who will be our fighter in Congress. He will work with President Trump to finish the wall, and fight for a safe and secure southern border — not give them driver’s licenses.”

The Republican’s six-figure TV ad will run through the primary election on May 7, the DCNF has learned. Kavanaugh, who serves in the U.S. Army Reserve, is a former staffer for former President Donald Trump’s campaign and administration, according to local outlet WIBC.


In early February 2022, an immigration rights group protested at the Indiana Statehouse after the driver’s license legislation didn’t advance following its January introduction, according to local outlet WRTV.

“We experienced further, more strict, reasons for detention and reasons for incarceration. And so when an undocumented person is pulled over and they don’t have a driver’s license, this is another pipeline to deportation. It’s another pipeline to be incarcerated,” Wendy Catalan Ruano, who attended the rally, told the outlet at the time. “We’re human; we deserve to be able to drive and not watch our backs when we’re on the road.” (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Red States File Brief Against DHS To Protect Themselves Against Illegal Immigration)

The 2023 bill maintains that illegal aliens are eligible to pay the resident tuition rate if they “[file] an affidavit with the state educational institution stating that the individual has filed an application to legalize the individual’s immigration status or will file an application as soon as the individual is eligible to legalize the individual’s immigration status.”

Immigration has become one of the 2024 cycle’s most prominent issues as the Biden administration continues to oversee record amounts of illegal border crossings.

Bucschon’s seat, which he’s held since 2011, is characterized by The Cook Political Report as “Solid Republican.”

Messmer’s campaign did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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