Mike Pence

Vice President Mike Pence campaigns for U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, at Panther Creek Country Club in Springfield, Ill., Friday, Oct. 12, 2018.

INDIANAPOLIS — U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly's vote against the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh as associate justice to the U.S. Supreme Court should spark Hoosiers to vote for Republican challenger Mike Braun, Vice President Mike Pence said Friday.

"It's just one more reason Indiana needs to send Mike Braun to the United States Senate," Pence told an enthusiastic crowd of 920 Republicans gathered at the state GOP fall dinner and fundraiser.

"The truth is, the way some Democrats in the U.S. Senate conducted themselves in their confirmation process was just terrible. Democrats literally traded 'advise and consent' into 'search and destroy'," Pence said.

Pence urged Hoosiers to vote for Braun saying, "The truth is, a vote for Joe Donnelly is a vote to make (Senate Minority Leader) Chuck Schumer the leader of the United States Senate, quite possibly. And really, a vote for Joe Donnelly is vote to turn the United States Senate into the center of resistance in Washington D.C."

The vice president came home to the Hoosier state to energize Republican support for Braun, an auto parts firm owner and former state representative. Braun, of Jasper, was elected to the Legislature in 2014 and served through 2017 when he resigned to run for Senate; Pence was Indiana governor from 2013 through January 2017, when he assumed the office of Vice President.

Pence, who served as a U.S. House Representative for Indiana from 2001 to 2013, urged votes for Indiana's Republican ticket, including his older brother, Greg, who is vying for the 6th District seat in the U.S. House.

"I couldn't be more proud ... He'll be the best Pence ever elected to Congress in the state of Indiana," the Vice President said.

Although he told the crowd at the JW Marriott that supporting Braun was his main reason to be at the dinner, he praised the administration of President Donald Trump.

Pence noted that for the second quarter of 2018, the U.S. economy expanded at a pace not previously anticipated due to revised import and software spending. The Commerce Department announced in late August that the gross domestic product grew at a 4.2 percent rate, the fastest quarter since 2014.

The growth figures brought an anecdote from Pence, who recalled Trump's early 2017 prediction that the GDP would grow to 4 percent despite economists telling Trump that 3 percent was more practical.

Prior to the announcement, Trump and Pence were backstage with economists and speechwriters in New York City as Trump read through a speech citing the 3 percent estimate.

"He looks at the economists and says I think it's going to be more than that. True story. And they said, well, it might be, it could be but there wasn't an economist in America that said that we would be back at 3 percent. The last administration had averaged less than 2 percent economic growth in the last eight years." Pence said.

In 2016, the Trump-Pence ticket won 60 percent of the Indiana vote in 2016 against Democrats Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.

Friday, Pence made numerous references to the 2016 outcome, saying the same voter effort is needed to sway the Senate race in Braun's favor.

Later today, Pence, Braun and Republican National Chair Ronna McDaniel are expected to kick off the state GOP's Right Track Results Tour.

The tour begins in Indianapolis at 10 a.m. at the JW Marriott. Weekend stops are planned in Vincennes, Jasper, Terre Haute and Martinsville. Pence and McDaniel will only be at the Indianapolis rally.

In the race

Six candidates are running Nov. 6 for Indiana's U.S. Senate seat. They are Democrat incumbent Donnelly; Libertarian Lucy M. Brenton; Braun; independent write-in Nathan Altman; independent write-in Christopher Fischer and write-in candidate James L. Johnson Jr.