May 7, 2024 - News

Mike Braun wins Republican gubernatorial primary

Mike Braun hugging his wife on a stage in front of supporters

Braun with his wife, Maureen, in front of supporters at Moontown Brewing Tuesday night. Photo: Arika Herron/Axios

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun has won Indiana's Republican gubernatorial primary.

Why it matters: In a state that hasn't chosen a Democrat to lead the state in two decades, Braun, who had former President Trump's endorsement, is now the presumptive favorite for the November general election.

Driving the news: The Associated Press called the race for Braun at 7pm Tuesday, with about 11% of the votes tallied.

What they're saying: "There's going to be a new era in the state of Indiana," said former state Sen. Carlin Yoder, who now works as Trump's Indiana state director.

  • "It's going to be a conservative era of people who believe in what Donald Trump believes and the establishment should probably wake up to that fact."
An interactive dashboard showing the latest results of the uncontested presidential, gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional primaries in Indiana.
Data: Associated Press; Chart: Axios Visuals

The big picture: Despite a field of well-funded candidates that drove the most expensive primary in state history, Braun's victory was decisive.

  • "Money, sadly, has become too big a deal I think in most elections," Braun said at an election night watch party at Moontown Brewing in Whitestown.
  • "It turns a lot of people off and, in a full field like this with four well-financed campaigns, it's gonna probably be a record for any primary and I think a dubious one at best."

What we're watching: The question now becomes if Republicans coalesce behind Braun.

"I bring a record into it," Braun said yesterday, talking to reporters before the polls closed. "It's clear and recent. I'm an entrepreneur by trade. And I think all of that will get the whole family of Republicans back on board with whoever wins."

  • Braun told supporters Tuesday night that three of his rivals had already called to offer support to ensure Republicans win in November.

One of them was Chambers, who said in a statement he "hopes" Braun will be the leader Indiana needs.

  • Chambers said he offered Braun his "continued service to the state," stating that he still hopes to make good his vision for Indiana.

Yes, but: Chambers didn't mince words when describing how it felt to see his campaign come to an end.

  • "Losing sucks. I'm not used to it. I hope I never get used to it. My light has not dimmed for Indiana and for public service. But it's going to take me a little bit of time," Chambers said. "We had some momentum in this race. It just wasn't enough."

The intrigue: Braun and U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, who was uncontested on the GOP ballot to take Braun's Senate seat after egg farmer John Rust was removed from the ballot, were both endorsed by Trump.

  • One campaign staffer told Axios that Braun's win, despite some party officials lining up behind other candidates, proves that Indiana is solidly "Trump country" now.
  • Trump had locked up the Republican nomination before Indiana's primary, but Nikki Haley was still on the ballot and earned 22% of the vote.

What's next: Braun will face former Republican education chief-turned Democrat Jennifer McCormick and Libertarian Donald Rainwater in the general election.

  • McCormick said Tuesday that Braun is too extreme for Indiana.

This is a developing story.

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