Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) became the first sitting senator in seven years to announce he’s running for governor in his state, giving up his seat in 2024 to run in a likely crowded Republican field vying to succeed Gov. Eric Holcomb (R).
Braun’s announcement was not a surprise — he already filed paperwork and told Republicans in Indiana his plans in September, according to Politico. The 68-year-old said he would serve out the rest of his term no matter what happens in the 2024 governor’s race.
Braun made his decision official at a luncheon at an Indianapolis steakhouse on Monday. After serving in the state legislature in 2014, Braun arrived in the upper chamber in 2018 after defeating Democratic incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly, funding his own campaign with more than $11 million in personal loans. Additionally, he won a primary against two sitting congressmen at the time: Luke Messer and Todd Rokita.
The senator’s decision is likely to open up a competitive primary for his Senate seat. Among those mulling a run for Braun’s seat are Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN), and former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.
Braun’s announcement to run for governor comes right after Indiana Republican Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch announced a bid of her own. Eric Doden, a Fort Wayne businessman and former CEO of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, is seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination as well.
The winner of the primary will enter the general election to succeed Holcomb, who is term-limited. Republicans are favored to win the Indiana governor’s mansion after controlling it for the last two decades.
At least one other senator is considering a run for governor, Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA).