Republican appointed to succeed lawmaker killed by drunk driver failed to disclose his own DUIs

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Rep. Luke  Messer / Flickr Rep Luke Messer...
Rep. Luke Messer / Flickr

The Indianapolis Star reported on Thursday that in 2003, when Luke Messer was persuading local Indiana GOP leaders to appoint him to replace a state representative who had been killed by a drunk driver, Messer kept his own two DUIs a secret. Messer got the job, which he used to launch a political career that would lead to his election to the House in 2012. Messer is now running in the three-way May 8 primary to take on Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly.

Both DUIs, which happened when Messer was in his 20s, eventually became public, though he wasn’t the one who revealed either of them. In 2009, around the time that Messer was unsuccessfully challenging then-Rep. Dan Burton in the primary, an anonymous person mailed court documents to the media about his 1995 conviction. Three years later, Messer’s Democratic foe brought a previously-unknown 1990 charge to light.

However, several of the local party leaders who picked Messer for the state House seat in 2003 told the Star that they didn’t know about either DUI until the paper contacted them for the story. Several of them said they were not happy he hadn’t told them 15 years ago, and that he probably wouldn’t have been selected had they known.

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