Luke Messer

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Luke Messer
Chair of the House Republican Policy Committee
In office
January 3, 2015 – January 3, 2019
LeaderJohn Boehner
Paul Ryan
Preceded byJames Lankford[1]
Succeeded byGary Palmer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 6th district
In office
January 3, 2013 – January 3, 2019
Preceded byMike Pence
Succeeded byGreg Pence
Member of the Indiana House of Representatives
from the 57th district
In office
May 21, 2003 – November 21, 2006
Preceded byRoland Stine
Succeeded bySean Eberhart
Personal details
Allen Lucas Messer

(1969-02-27) February 27, 1969 (age 55)
Evansville, Indiana, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
SpouseJennifer Messer
EducationWabash College (BA)
Vanderbilt University (JD)

Allen Lucas Messer (born February 27, 1969) is an American politician and lobbyist who represented Indiana's 6th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 2013 to 2019. He is a member of the Republican Party.

Born in Evansville, Indiana, Messer is a graduate of Wabash College and Vanderbilt University Law School. After an unsuccessful run for the U.S. House in 2000, Messer served as the first executive director of the Indiana Republican Party from 2001 to 2005. Messer was appointed to serve in the Indiana House of Representatives in 2003, after State Representative W. Roland Stine was killed in a car accident. He represented Indiana's 57th District from 2003 to 2006, when he opted not to run for reelection and instead joined Ice Miller LLP's lobbying division. From 2006 to 2012, Messer was a registered lobbyist. He ran for the U.S. House again in 2010, but was unsuccessful in his primary challenge to Republican Dan Burton. When Mike Pence decided in 2012 to run for Governor of Indiana, Messer was elected to replace him, defeating Democratic nominee Brad Bookout.

On July 26, 2017, Messer announced that he would run for the U.S. Senate in 2018.[2] He was unsuccessful in the May 8 primary election, losing to Mike Braun.

Early life and career

Messer graduated from Greensburg Community High School in 1987.[3][4] Messer attended Wabash College where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and majored in speech. He graduated in 1991.[5] He received a Juris Doctor from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1994.[6][7] Shortly after graduating from Vanderbilt, he served as an Associate Counsel at Koch Industries from 1995 to 1996.[8]

Messer started his political career in 1997 as the press secretary for Tennessee Representative Ed Bryant. He was the legal counsel on the House Subcommittee for Government Reform for Indiana Representatives David McIntosh and Dan Burton from 1998 to 1999, and the legal counsel to U.S. Representative Jim Duncan later in 1999.[9] In 1998, he was the campaign manager for Virginia Murphy Blankenbaker's unsuccessful congressional campaign.[10] In 1999, Messer returned to Indiana and practiced law at the Barnes & Thornburg law firm in Indianapolis.[11]

In 2000, Messer ran for the United States House of Representatives in Indiana's 2nd congressional district, where incumbent David M. McIntosh was retiring to run for governor of Indiana in the 2000 election. Messer received the endorsement of The Indianapolis Star.[12] He received 21 percent of the vote in the Republican Party's primary election, finishing behind conservative talk show host Mike Pence, who won with 44 percent of the vote, and Jeff Linder, who received 24 percent of the vote.[13] In 2001, Messer was chosen as the executive director of the Indiana Republican Party.[14]

Indiana House of Representatives

On May 23, 2003, Messer was selected to succeed W. Roland Stine, who died in a traffic collision, in the Indiana House of Representatives for the 57th district.[15] From 2003 to 2006, Messer represented District 57 in the Indiana House of Representatives, which contained parts of Shelby County and Bartholomew County.[16] During the 2005-06 legislative session, Messer was Assistant Majority Floor Leader.[17] His legislation aimed at curbing high school dropout rates received national attention after Shelbyville High School became a symbol of a national dropout crisis.[18] He did not run for reelection as State Representative in 2006, and was succeeded by Sean Eberhart.[19]

Lobbying work

Messer was a registered lobbyist from 2006 to 2012.[20][21]

In 2006, Messer joined Ice Miller LLP's lobbying division as a partner of their public affairs group.[22][23][24] His decision to join Ice Miller came a month after voting in favor of Indiana leasing the Indiana Toll Road to Cintra-Macquarie, an international consortium, for "75 years at a cost of $3.85 billion." Ice Miller, Indiana's largest law firm, represented Cintra-Macquarie in the deal.[25] Messer said he "did not know they represented anyone in connection with the Toll Road."[24]

Messer served as the Indiana co-chair of John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign.[26] In 2010, Messer ran for the House of Representatives in Indiana's 5th congressional district. He challenged Dan Burton, the incumbent representative, in the Republican primary. Burton narrowly defeated Messer.[27] Messer then became president and CEO of School Choice Indiana, a lobbying group that supported Indiana's private school voucher law.[28]

Since being elected to Congress in 2012, Ice Miller LLP has been Messer's top source of campaign contributions, having given him $82,238.[29]

United States House of Representatives


In May 2011, Mike Pence announced his intention to run for Governor of Indiana. Messer subsequently declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination in the district, which had been renumbered as the 6th District after the 2000 census. His home in Shelbyville had been drawn back into the district after the 2010 census after being drawn into the neighboring 5th after the 2000 census.[30] On May 8, 2012, Messer defeated a crowded field of Republican candidates seeking the party's nomination, including Columbus real estate investor Travis Hankins, winning with 71% of the vote.[31] He faced Democrat Brad Bookout, a Delaware County councilman, in the general election.[32][33] On November 6, 2012, Messer defeated Bookout with roughly 59% of the vote.[34] After the election, Messer moved to the Washington metropolitan area.[35]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships


In November 2014, Messer was elected by his colleagues to Republican House Leadership as the House Republican Policy Committee Chairman, succeeding James Lankford, who had been elected to the United States Senate. Messer defeated Tom Reed and Rob Woodall.[38]

In 2017, Messer founded the Congressional School Choice caucus to promote the expansion of school voucher programs.[39]

In May 2018, Messer led a group of 18 House Republicans unofficially nominating President Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize "for his efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and end the 68-year-old war between North and South Korea".[40]

Political views and legislation

Messer, like Pence, is an ardent conservative. During his initial run for Congress, Messer told NPR member WFIU, "If you like Congressman Mike Pence, we’re going to have very similar philosophy in the way we approach the job."[41]

Social issues

Messer opposes abortion rights. He has a 100% rating from Indiana Right to Life for his abortion-related voting record. He opposes the federal government funding organizations that offer abortions, unless the abortions are the result of rape or incest or the woman's life is threatened.[42]

On January 4, 2013, Messer voted for the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, which prohibits distribution of federal family planning funds to organizations that offer abortions unless the abortion is the result of pregnancy from incest or rape or the woman's life is at risk.[42]

Messer opposes same-sex marriage.[43]

Economic issues

On May 9, 2013, Messer voted for the Full Faith and Credit Act, which prioritized spending if the debt limit is reached.[44] Messer voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and has stated his support for reforming the tax code to simplify it and reduce tax rates.[45] In 2013, he signed a pledge sponsored by conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity promising to vote against any global warming legislation that would raise taxes.[citation needed]

Messer supports a balanced budget amendment. He opposes federal stimulus spending and supports limiting federal spending growth to per-capita inflation rate.[44]


In August 2013, Messer worked to pass bipartisan legislation to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling in 2013 and to link student loan interest rates to market rates.[46]

In July 2017, Messer authored legislation to "upend the way American students pay for college."[47] His legislation lays the framework for income share agreements, which have several advantages over traditional student loans.[47] Messer has introduced legislation to require annual debt letters to be sent to student loan borrowers, which is based on an Indiana University program that reduced borrowing at the institution by 10 percent.[48] Messer worked with Sen. Patty Murray to restore Pell Grant eligibility to students who were attending ITT Tech when the institution closed, by convincing the Education Department to restore these benefits using an existing statute.[49]

Messer supports the expansion of school voucher programs.[39]

Health care

Messer is in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") and replacing it with "something better".[50]

In May 2017, Messer voted for the House bill American Health Care Act of 2017, to partially repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[50]


In July 2017, Messer authored legislation that would prevent undocumented immigrants from claiming the child tax credit.[51][52] President Donald Trump included the same proposal in his 2018 budget request to Congress.[53]

Messer commented on the work of a 2013 bipartisan House working group on immigration reform, saying that a pathway to citizenship and a deal on metrics to measure border security would be the biggest challenges to final passage of immigration reform.[54][55] Messer told Indiana's Biz Voice Magazine, "Those who came here unlawfully will have to pay penalties and back fees."[56][57][54]

Messer supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to impose a temporary ban on entry to the U.S. to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, describing it as a measure to "protect Americans from terrorist threats" and saying that "President Trump is right to prioritize American safety."[58]


Messer supported a GI Bill reform package passed by the House on June 25, 2017[59] and signed into law by President Trump,[60] which included a provision he authored that would retroactively restore education benefits to veterans attending schools that close mid-semester, like ITT Technical Institute.[61][62]


In February 2013, Messer voted in favor of reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.[43]

Messer has a 62% rating from the National Association of Police Organizations for his voting record on issues importance to police and crime.[63]

Messer has a "D" rating from NORML for his voting history regarding cannabis-related causes. Messer opposes veterans having access to medical marijuana if recommended by their Veterans Health Administration doctor and if it is legal for medicinal purposes in their state of residence.[64]

Gun rights

In 2012 and 2016, the NRA Political Victory Fund gave Messer an "A" rating for his gun-related voting record. Messer opposes restrictions on gun purchases.[65][66]

Electoral history


Indiana's 2nd Congressional District Republican primary election (2000)
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Mike Pence 21,582 44.48
Republican Jeffery M. Linder 11,615 23.94
Republican Luke Messer 10,075 20.76
Republican Brad D. Steele 2,819 5.81
Republican David M. (Mike) Campbell 1,913 3.94
Republican Cliff Federle 513 1.06


Indiana House of Representatives, 57th District (2006)
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Luke Messer 16,004 100
Total votes 16,004 100
Republican hold


Indiana's 5th Congressional District Republican primary election (2010)
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Dan Burton (incumbent) 32,649 30
Republican Luke Messer 30,386 28
Republican John McGoff 20,645 19
Republican Michael B. Murphy 9,761 9
Republican Brose McVey 9,355 8
Republican Andy Lyons 3,948 4
Republican Ann Adcook 3,344 3


Indiana's 6th Congressional District election, 2012[67]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Luke Messer 162,613 59
Democratic Brad Bookout 96,678 35
Libertarian Rex Bell 15,962 6
Total votes 275,253 100
Republican hold


Indiana's 6th Congressional District Election (2014)
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Luke Messer* 102,187 65.90
Democratic Susan Hall Heitzman 45,509 29.35
Libertarian Eric Miller 7,375 4.76
Total votes 155,071 100.00
Turnout   32
Republican hold


Indiana's 6th Congressional District Election (2016)
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Luke Messer* 204,920 69.14
Democratic Barry A. Welsh 79,135 26.70
Libertarian Rich Turvey 12,330 4.16
Total votes 296,385 100.00
Turnout   59
Republican hold


Indiana's U.S. Senate Republican Primary Election (2018)
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Mike Braun 208,104 41.2
Republican Todd Rokita 151,675 30.0
Republican Luke Messer 145,772 28.8
Total votes 100

Personal life

Messer and his wife Jennifer have two daughters and one son. Luke and Jennifer Messer are the authors of a children's book, Hoosier Heart.[68]

Messer was cited for driving under the influence (DUI) in 1990 and 1996.[69]

Following Messer's election to Congress, he sold his house in Shelbyville, Indiana and moved to McLean, Virginia, a Washington, D.C. suburb.[35] He is now listed as a registered voter at his mother's address in Greensburg, Indiana.[70] Messer has clarified that he owns the home with his mother and lives there when he is in the state.[71] He faced criticism from his opponents in the 2018 Republican primary election for the United States Senate for moving his family to the Washington, D.C. area.[72][73][74]

Fishers, an Indianapolis suburb, has paid Jennifer Messer $580,000 since 2015 in legal consulting she primarily does from the family's Washington, D.C. area home.[75] She is paid $20,000 a month as a part-time contract attorney for the city.[76] Jennifer Messer began the work for the City of Fishers two years before her husband was elected to Congress.[75] Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness said the arrangement helped usher in an era of "unprecedented" economic success in the growing suburb of about 85,000 people.[75] Messer has defended his wife's work, calling her "the brains of the Messer outfit", and Jennifer defended her work in an op-ed for The Indianapolis Star, calling an Associated Press story about her "unfair, intellectually dishonest and straight-up sexist".[77][78]

Messer is a Presbyterian.[79]


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  43. ^ a b "Luke Messer on Civil Rights". On The Issues. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
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  64. ^ "Indiana Scorecard". NORML. Archived from the original on June 8, 2016. Retrieved December 28, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  65. ^ "VOTE FREEDOM FIRST ON OR BEFORE MAY 3RD – VOTE LUKE MESSER FOR U.S. HOUSE!". NRA-PVF. Archived from the original on August 17, 2023. Retrieved August 17, 2023.
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  79. ^ Religious affiliation of members of 115th Congress (PDF) (Report). Pew Research Center. January 3, 2017. Retrieved April 18, 2023.

External links

Indiana House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the Indiana House of Representatives
from the 57th district

Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Chair of the House Republican Policy Committee
Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Representative Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Representative
Succeeded byas Former US Representative