May 8, 2024 - News

Mike Braun ushers in "new conservative era"

Mike Braun hugging his wife on a stage in front of people with signs.

Braun with his wife, Maureen, in front of supporters at Moontown Brewing last 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.

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."

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

  • AP called the race at 7pm eastern, just as the final polls in the state were closing.
  • The Republican primary for governor was a six-way race between Braun, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Brad Chambers, Eric Doden, Curtis Hill and Jamie Reitenour.
  • "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 Tuesday, 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 last 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.

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 already locked up the Republican nomination, 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 yesterday that Braun is too extreme for Indiana.

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