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Congressional candidate who blamed Iraq war on Jews loses in Indiana GOP primary

Republican Jewish Coalition called John Hostettler’s defeat “a major victory.”

Statehouse in Indiana. Credit: Rosina Peixoto via Wikimedia Commons.
Statehouse in Indiana. Credit: Rosina Peixoto via Wikimedia Commons.

A former congressman known for his “non-interventionist” foreign policy, which led him to blame Jews for the Iraq war and accuse a pro-Israel “cabal” of targeting him, has lost the Indiana Republican primary.

In the race for the GOP nomination in the state’s 8th District, businessman Mark B. Messmer received 30,661 votes (38.5%); “paleoconservative” John Hostetler (who served in Congress from 1994 to 2006) received 15,640 (19.6%); and six other competitors got the remaining votes.

The Republican Jewish Coalition released a triumphant statement about Hostetler—a candidate the group had previously condemned—committing $1 million to his defeat.

“Tonight, we succeeded in keeping a vocal anti-Israel candidate out of the Republican conference,” stated Norm Coleman and Matt Brooks, national chairman and CEO of the RJC, respectively. “This is a major victory for the RJC, the Jewish community, for all pro-Israel Americans and for common sense.”

Coleman and Brooks said that “unlike some Democratic leaders, who coddle and enable the worst elements of their party’s base, the RJC has shown time and again that we will hold bad actors accountable.”

They pointed out the group’s work not just against Hostettler but also against Steve King, the former far-right congressman from Iowa widely rebuked for a variety of racist and antisemitic remarks.

“It is our sincere hope that Democrat groups will follow the RJC’s lead in taking on the tough fights within their own ranks,” they said, starting with Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.).

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