Conservative Republican to Abandon Senate Seat to Run for Governor - Who Will Replace Him?
From a comfortable red Senate seat in the great midwestern state of Indiana, Republican Sen. Mike Braun formally announced a new career goal this week.
According to Fox News, Braun filed the necessary paperwork last year to mount a bid to be Indiana’s chief executive. Braun hopes to replace the term-limited Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb.
While Braun’s political career ambitions have been applauded by his colleagues, his potential exit from the upper chamber leaves the possibility for a wild Republican primary showdown in 2024 to fill his vacated seat.
The first two high-profile potential GOP players who might gun for Braun’s seat include Reps. Victoria Spartz and Rep. Jim Banks, Fox reported.
Banks appeared to angle for the possibility of filling Braun’s seat down the road in a Monday morning tweet.
“We’re losing a conservative Senator in Mike Braun and Indiana deserves another conservative to replace him,” Banks tweeted.
We’re losing a conservative Senator in Mike Braun and Indiana deserves another conservative to replace him
— Jim Banks (@Jim_Banks) January 9, 2023
Politico noted that former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has also expressed interest in an open Senate seat. Eric Doden, former president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, announced in 2021 that he will seek the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2024, Fox News added.
No matter who throws their name in the hat, losing Braun, a reliable conservative vote in the upper chamber, will be a hard loss felt on the right side of the aisle.
Braun won his Indiana Senate seat in 2018 in a hotly contested race, which he bagged by 12 points. As a former auto parts distribution business owner, Braun is more of the “get ‘er done” kind of politician, Politico noted in December, and not so much interested in the long grind of acquiring little bits of power at a time in the U.S. Senate, where sometimes it seems as if little to nothing gets done.
“I’ve never been a believer in seniority, or just purely time being the measure of success,” Braun told Politico. “When I measured what I could accomplish in six more years here, I think I can do more by going back home.”
South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Braun’s absence from the Senate will be a “loss.” Still, he confirmed that Braun will be comfortable as a take-action governor as opposed to the molasses-speed of making progress in the Senate.
“It takes forever to get anything done. Mike is more of a business, action-oriented guy,” Graham said.
The race for the Indiana governor’s mansion is already gearing up to be an expensive affair, attracting candidates such as Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and Doden.
According to the Associated Press, Braun is already attracting the donor power needed to match his rivals in the fundraising wars years ahead of the race. The Indiana senator reportedly took in $1.5 million since launching his gubernatorial intentions last month.
Additionally, Braun has transferred roughly $1.5 million from his Senate campaign fund to bolster his gubernatorial campaign.
Josh Kelley, Braun’s senior political adviser, said that his impressive donor list resulted from people and businesses across The Hoosier State getting excited at the possibility of someone like Braun at the helm.
“Mike is getting these folks motivated to give big amounts because I think they’re excited about having someone who brings that kind of mainstream businessman perspective to the Statehouse,” Kelley said.
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