Sen. Mike Braun planning to run for Indiana governor

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Indiana. (IBJ file photo)

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun has ended months of speculation over whether he planned to run for Indiana governor in 2024 rather than seek a second term in the Senate.

The senator filed paperwork Tuesday with the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office to form a campaign finance committee to pay for the gubernatorial run.

Braun, 68, will seek to replace Gov. Eric Holcomb, a fellow Republican whose second term ends on Jan. 13, 2025. Holcomb cannot seek reelection because the Indiana Constitution prohibits governors from serving more than eight years in any 12-year period.

Josh Kelley, Braun’s chief of staff and senior political adviser, acknowledged the campaign filing with the Indiana Election Division and said in an email that Braun “will be making an official announcement of his candidacy very soon.”

Braun has talked openly for months about the possibility of running for governor rather than campaigning for the Senate seat he won in 2018. The two elections will take place at the same time.

A wealthy founder of a national auto parts distribution business, Braun campaigned for Senate as a strong supporter of then-President Donald Trump and often aligns himself closely with the Senate’s most conservative members while bemoaning the the body’s deliberative pace. He supported a failed attempt by Florida Sen. Rick Scott to unseat Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, saying in a statement that “Hoosier conservative Republicans are sick and tired of the status quo.”

Braun publicly denounced Holcomb’s decision in March to veto a Republican-backed bill banning transgender girls from competing in Indiana girls sports teams.

He split from fellow Indiana GOP Sen. Todd Young, who won reelection this month, by voting against advancing a bill protecting same-sex and interracial marriages across the country. Braun earlier this year said he misunderstood the question when he told reporters that the U.S. Supreme Court was wrong to legalize interracial marriage nationwide in 1967.

Braun would be heavily favored to win a second Senate term from Republican-dominated Indiana but the open governor’s seat has many possible candidates.

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, who was Holcomb’s 2016 and 2020 running mate, has raised more than $2 million for an unannounced campaign, as has Fort Wayne businessman Eric Doden since he kicked off a campaign last year.

Republican U.S. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth alluded to a possible run for other political offices when he announced in January that he wouldn’t seek reelection—and some Republicans are hoping that former Gov. Mitch Daniels will seek a Statehouse return after he steps down as Purdue University’s president at the end of December.

Braun fueled his successful 2018 Senate campaign with more than $11 million in personal loans, vaulting from a little-known businessman to winning the Republican primary over then-Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita, then unseating Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly.

Hollingsworth, the son of a wealthy commercial and industrial property developer from Tennessee, spent millions of his own money to win his congressional seat in 2016.

But Braun said in mid-November that he wouldn’t spend his own money on a run for governor.

“No, that was a necessity in the primary and that shouldn’t be an issue this time,” Braun said.

Two Republicans with reported interest in running for the Senate seat are U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, who unsuccessfully sought a top House Republican position this week, and U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz.

Discussions of possible 2024 statewide Democratic candidates have centered on Donnelly, who is now President Joe Biden’s ambassador to the Vatican, and former state schools superintendent Jennifer McCormick, who won election as a Republican in 2016 but has since switched parties after disputes with Republican Statehouse leaders over education policies.

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36 thoughts on “Sen. Mike Braun planning to run for Indiana governor

  1. I don’t understand the term “conservative””. What policies do they pass that benefit all? They run on significant tax cuts for the wealthy and strengthen the power of white supremacy, evangelicals, Q’anon, gun owners, etc.

    They ran up the deficit under Trump by $7.8 trillion. So don’t tell me there are budget conscious.

    They’re against Democracy, women rights, LGTBQ, civil rights and have done nothing to curb mass shootings or border security.

    They complain a lot but have no policies or solutions. And those that still support Trump are brainwashed.

    1. “Conservatives” beat their chest about liberty, but make a hate it when people exercise their freedoms in ways that they do not agree with.

      “Conservatives” are quick to get enraged and throw around the term “snowflake” when people who speak out for themselves (and sometimes sound silly doing so) without realizing that they are getting upset over somebody else getting upset.

      “Conservatives” claim to be fiscally responsible, but they increase national debt as much as Democrats (if not more) and never come close to closing narrowing the annual deficit – which is something that Clinton and Obama made huge progress towards.

      I don’t affiliate with either political party (and have split my ticket for most elections), but the hypocrisy of the term “conservative” is laughable.

    2. But they’re all about “Making America Great Again”. Perhaps by kowtowing to Putin and Xi while standing tough against Cuba and Venezuela?

    3. @ Bob P. So just who exactly is it who is responsible for most if the mass shootings? Asking for a friend….

    4. Bob, the issue of diminishing influence of religion in America is a religious issue, not a secular one. Ask for more from your religious leaders, not your political leaders, if you want a revival.

      Myself, I see a direct correlation between religious leaders getting more involved in politics … and their diminishing influence in society, followed by the pews emptying out.

      Religious leaders who (example) railed about abortion but were silent about brown kids in cages did more to harm attendance and influence than any outside forces. Lots of folks realizing they want no part of a bunch of power hungry hypocrites.

    1. Nope. They’re all disgusting. Look at Braun in the photo on this story. Surrounded by old white men.

    1. There is a sane Republican who will likely run for the office. Her name is Jennifer McCormick and she’d be on the Democratic ticket.

      That such a thing will be the case tells you a lot about the rightward drift of the Republican Party.

      If you think that Suzanne Crouch will be allowed to run for the office, think again.

  2. Naively, I voted for Braun 6 years ago.

    In the senate, he sided with the extreme and populist Republican movement far too often and enabled Trump. Hell, it took an insurrection to convince Barun to vote to certify the election.

    Sorry Mike, you’re not getting my vote this time.

    1. You should have watched the debates – you would not have voted for him.

      He just repeated I ran a business & I will do what trump tells me to do for an hour straight.

      I refuse to vote for anyone who will not attend a debate – as it shows you what they are truly made of and stand for. Braun failed miserably at his debate and still won unfortunately.

    2. Didn’t you see the news story from 2018 where Braun said his company only distributed products “Made in America” only to be contradicted by video footage of boxes in one of his warehouses that were plainly labeled “Made in China”? That was all I needed to see to realize he was a fraud. His four years in the senate only confirms it even more.

  3. Republicans can and MUST do better than Braun, Spartz, and Banks for obvious reasons. They are dividers, and care more about their careers than the citizens they are supposed to serve. Recruit Merritt, Daniels, or another REASONABLE Republican. Otherwise, Democrats could have a chance if the nominate a real candidate~ not a McDermott.

  4. Braun and other so-called conservatives say they are for small government and individual liberty and states rights. But then they turn around and restrict our freedoms, take decision making away from individuals and states, except when it comes to abortion where it benefitted them to build a Supreme Court that would give them what they want when they could not do it themselves. Their solution to “fixing the economy” is to give massive tax breaks to the wealthy, thus running u the deficit to record highs, while screwing the lower and middle class by slashing programs that are proven to bring families and children out of poverty and improve the economy. They destroy the economy and then blame it on “The Left”. All this said, Braun is one of the worst culprits of the evils of Trumpism. He is exactly the opposite of what Indiana and the country needs!

  5. Isn’t it time for “real conservatives” and “real liberals” in Indiana to round out their hard core and seemingly unmovable positions on key issues and try to meet somewhere in the middle? Is compromise even in their vocabulary? Braun’s not the guy to do this but Mitch Daniels and other center focused candidates (republican, democrat or libertarian) certainly are. Watch out republicans, if the party doesn’t start listening to the middle majority including independent leaning voters registered with all party affiliations, you can kiss your happy supermajority bye-bye .

    1. Not as long as they get to pick their voters by gerrymandering.

      Even if a Democrat squeaks into the Governor’s Mansion, s/he will still face MAGA supermajorities in the Legislature…and the veto pen means nothing when it takes only a simple majority to override.

  6. How sad for Indiana that the choices we have for Governor are Braun, Spartz, and Banks. These three represent the worst of the Republican party. We have a Republican super majority in the legislature already and having any one of these three would basically set Indiana backwards even more than we are now. I don’t know why people celebrate super majorities. They stifle creative ideas and ultimatley don’t serve the people they represent becasue they never have to worry about losing elections or another party with a competing policy agenda. I wish Mitch Daniels would bring some sanity to this race.

    1. Eric Doden has thrown his hat in the ring…but I’m guessing you’ll have some issue with him as well…

  7. Good heavens! I can’t begin to image Braun as governor!!
    Can we get someone in mid 40 – 50 who is successful at a current position, cares for ALL people, realizes there are layers of different population h/s will need to help/answer to, and still care about people.

    Braun is none of this and Indiana does not need him, nor want him. I feel sick thinking about about the possibility!

  8. Braun is too extreme and these ‘Conservative’ Indiana Republicans are bad for businesses and jobs in Indiana. Their pious, holier than thou legislative agendas scare off many large employers with their far right social conservative agenda. Braun is an empty suit lacking any sort of ‘good ideas’ on anything for job creation, education, infrastructure, etc.

    I’d vote for an independent or democrat before this clown.

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