Sen. Mike Braun's Indiana gubernatorial bid jump-starts the GOP's first open Senate seat race of 2024
- Republican Sen. Mike Braun is running for governor of Indiana in 2024.
- GOP Reps. Jim Banks and Victoria Spartz have previously expressed interest in joining the Senate.
While his campaign to become Indiana's next governor is already underway, Republican Sen. Mike Braun assured congressional reporters that he's not leaving Capitol Hill just yet.
"I'm going to robustly finish out the two years as a senator," the freshman lawmaker said of his commitment to serving out the remainder of his first term. Braun told dozens of supporters he was officially jumping into the gubernatorial race on December 12, the Indianapolis Star reported, citing a desire to return home to work on issues like education, public safety, and affordable housing.
He filed the paperwork to create the new Mike Braun for Indiana, Inc., campaign committee in late November and has since rolled out a promotional website.
—Daniel Strauss (@DanielStrauss4) November 30, 2022
Imminent or not, Braun's likely departure creates an opening for any 2024 hopeful to jump into the fray.
Local news site IndyPolitics previously reported that GOP Reps. and Republican Study Committee members Jim Banks and Victoria Spartz were considering mounting Senate bids if Braun elected to move on. The Indianapolis Star says Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and Eric Doden, a political appointee under former Gov. Mike Pence, have already formally entered the race.
Braun is one of 10 GOP seats newly elected National Republican Senatorial Committee chair Steve Daines will have to defend in the next cycle. Other possible defectors in that cohort include anticipated 2024 presidential contenders Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, and Rick Scott of Florida.
Daines declined to name any candidates he'd like to see jump into the race, but said "there's interest already."
"I'm very confident Indiana will stay in Republican hands," Daines told Insider between votes at the US Capitol. Braun claimed 51% of the vote in 2018.
Delegation mate Todd Young, who ran the Senate's campaign arm in 2020, was similarly tight-lipped about tapping a replacement.
"I think it'll be a crowded primary. And fortunately for the Hoosier State, we have a lot of talented people who might run for that seat," Young told Insider at the US Capitol.
NBC News reports that former two-term Gov. Mitch Daniels is being talked about for Braun's open seat. Daniels has served as president of Purdue University since 2003, but is stepping down in January.
Braun, who characterized the Senate as a place "that needs a lot of reform," said he didn't have an immediate successor in mind.
"I'm sure there'll be plenty to fill that vacuum," Braun said on his way to a vote on the Senate floor.
The Banks and Spartz campaigns did not immediately respond to requests for comment about prospective Senate runs in 2024.
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