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Braun to run for Indiana governor instead of another term in 2024

Rep. Jim Banks said to be considering run for open seat

Republican Sen. Mike Braun is running for governor of Indiana instead of a second term in 2024.
Republican Sen. Mike Braun is running for governor of Indiana instead of a second term in 2024. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Indiana Sen. Mike Braun will forgo a run for a second term and will instead join what’s likely to be a crowded Republican field running for governor in 2024.

Braun, 68, filed paperwork with the Indiana Secretary of the State Wednesday to run to succeed Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, who is barred from running again because of term limits.

“I always made a decision throughout life to do what you can do to have the most impact,’’ Braun told reporters Wednesday.

Republicans will be in the minority in the Senate for the next two years, a factor that Braun suggested played a role in his decision to run for governor. “Where I’m going to spend the next two years politically…[I] had to take all that into consideration,” he said.

Braun said he has come to believe senators ought to be term-limited. “This place, I think, needs term limits more than I ever imagined.”

He does not intend to leave before his term expires. “I’m going to robustly finish out the two years as a senator,’’ he said.

Braun, a former top executive at his family’s truck parts distribution company, unseated Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in 2018. 

He has earned a reputation as a budget hawk, who chafes at increased government spending and believes Congress should be more mindful of deficits. 

Braun, who sits on the Senate Budget Committee, sought to establish a procedural hurdle against any budget resolutions that don’t provide a path to balance the budget. His amendment to a fiscal 2022 stopgap measure did not get enough votes, but Braun said his goal was to put all senators on the record on balanced budgets.

He is among the most socially conservative members of the Senate, consistently voting against LGBTQ rights and strongly opposing abortion. On Tuesday, he was one of 36 Republican senators to vote against a measure that would codify same-sex and interracial marriage rights.

Braun drew criticism earlier this year when he said the legality of interracial marriages should be left to the states; he later issued a statement saying he misunderstood the question.

But Braun’s legislative portfolio has also included nontraditional GOP issues such as climate change. In 2019 he joined with Delaware Democrat Chris Coons to form a bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus.

At least two other Republicans are seeking the governor’s office: Eric Doden, a former aide to former Vice President Mike Pence, and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, who has raised more than $2 million but has yet to announce her candidacy.

Braun’s announcement will also set off a competitive race to replace him in the Senate. Last week, a spokesman for Rep. Jim Banks told Axios he would “strongly consider” a run for Senate should Braun run for governor. Rep. Victoria Spartz is also reportedly weighing a Senate run, according to IndyPolitics.

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