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GOP Senator Stepping Down to Run for Governor In 2024

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


A noted Republican senator has announced plans to step down from his current post to run for governor, creating an opening that Democrats will likely try to win.

Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana has filed paperwork to run for governor, reports said on Wednesday, which will open up a Senate seat that has been in Republican hands since 2018, when Braun defeated then-Democratic Sen. Joe Donnally. The Washington Examiner forecasts a “packed field of GOP candidates for Braun’s Senate seat during the next election cycle.”

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, may already be eyeing the seat.

“[Banks] is strongly positioned to win a statewide primary and general election in Indiana,” a spokesperson for Banks told the outlet. “He will spend the holidays discussing with his wife, family, and friends around the state how he can best serve Indiana.”

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Braun is running to replace current Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, who is term-limited and cannot seek the office again.

“Mike Pence’s former gubernatorial appointee Eric Doden announced his intent to run several months ago, and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch (R) is also expected to throw her hat in the ring,” Resist The Mainstream reported.

Just last week, Steve Braun, the brother of Mike Braun, died days after his 63rd birthday “after a well-fought battle with cancer,” according to an obituary posted online.

“Braun preceded his brother — U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind. — as a member of the Indiana House, representing a suburban Indianapolis district in the Republican-controlled chamber from 2012 to 2014,” NWI.com said in a Thursday report.

Shortly after he won reelection to a second term, Steve Braun left the state House to become director of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development under Republican Gov. Mike Pence.

At the time of his appointment, Pence — who went on to become Donald Trump’s vice president for a term — said that Braun’s experience serving the public and as a successful businessman, having owned a technology consulting company that was based in Chicago, provided him “the unique background and skills necessary to continue to drive Indiana’s workforce development and pair it with innovative career and education opportunities for Hoosiers.”

He sold his company in 2004 for roughly $30 million, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported. “Braun stayed with the company for two more years to manage its worldwide consulting group,” the outlet added.

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NWI.com noted further:

Braun resigned from DWD in 2017 and subsequently launched a bid for the 2018 Republican nomination in Indiana’s 4th U.S. House District, which includes Newton and Jasper counties in Northwest Indiana.

The seat was open because U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita — now Indiana’s attorney general — chose to run instead for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination against U.S. Rep. Luke Messer and two-term state Rep. Mike Braun.

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Mike Braun ultimately prevailed in the Senate contest. But Steve Braun ran 5,717 votes behind now-U.S. Rep. Jim Baird, R-Greencastle, in the Republican U.S. House primary that included Secretary of State-elect Diego Morales.

“Steve was born on November 13, 1959 to Amos and Laverne (Beckman) Braun in Jasper, Indiana. After Steve graduated from Jasper High School in 1978, he earned a degree in Economics at Harvard University in Cambridge. After college, Steve married his middle school sweetheart, Jennifer (Schneider) Braun, and began a successful career working in technology consulting,” Braun’s obituary continued.

“In 1990, he founded Braun Consulting, taking his company public in 1999 and selling it to Fair Isaac Group in 2004. During this time, Steve acquired land in Dawson Springs, Kentucky and developed a beautiful space for farming, cattle ranching, and recreation that has been enjoyed by family and friends for years. He additionally began land acquisition around the greater Indianapolis area and went on to form Braun Property Development with his sons and son-in-law,” it added.

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At one point, Braun began a campaign for the 2020 Republican nomination in Indiana’s 5th U.S. House District, but he withdrew at the time for unspecified health issues, NWI.com reported.

“In his final years, Steve had ample time to spend doing his favorite things: playing with his grandchildren, taking long motorcycle rides, establishing his reign as the Cinch Grandmaster, mushroom hunting, growing and studying his beloved Purple Martin colonies, and watching the Pacers,” his obituary added.

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