INDIANAPOLIS -- The race to replace outgoing U.S. Senator Dan Coats is heating up – and being watched from all around the country.
Republican Congressmen Todd Young and Marlin Stutzman will face off in a televised debate Monday to try to capture voters for the upcoming primary.
Ahead of the debate, the first negative ads between Young and Stutzman have begun appearing on television.
The two Republicans agree on several issues. They both bill themselves as pro-life conservatives who want to preserve the Second Amendment.
Where they're distinguishing themselves in is party loyalty – laid out in a pair of ads one political expert called "vicious."
"When you look at Marlin Stutzman, he's saying he's not the establishment candidate and he's really trying to play off that, where as we know Young is saying he has the party endorsement," said Dr. Laura Merrifield-Albright, a professor at the University of Indianapolis. "They're really trying to go with that voting pool of, do you want somebody who the party supports or do you in this race in 2016 really want to go for the different candidate?"
In a statement, Young's campaign manager said, "Marlin Stutzman will say anything to get elected, but Hoosiers won't forget that he's been a career politician since he was 26."
Josh Kelley, Stutzman's campaign manager, played up the campaign's depiction of Young as a part of the establishment.
"Todd Young has proven that when the leadership or the GOP establishment tells him it's time to do something, he listens," Kelley said.
The two candidates already raised more than $4.5 million in 2015 alone. That means you can expect to see plenty more ads until the primary.