Indy Politics reported on Thursday that Braun is informing Republicans in the state about his plans to run for governor and that he will announce after the midterm election, a move typical of lawmakers who are eyeing new offices. Braun’s office declined further comment.
Two Indiana Republicans said Braun has made it clear that he’s interested in running. One said he’s been discussing it with the congressional delegation, the second said he’s been up front about his intentions to enter the race.
Braun defeated former Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), a key pick-up in the 2018 elections that allowed Republicans some breathing room in the chamber during the last two years of Donald Trump’s presidency. In winning the GOP nomination, the Indiana businessman dispatched former Reps. Todd Rokita and Luke Messer, memorably portraying each as cardboard cutouts in a TV ad.
As a longtime executive — he was the founder and CEO of a distributing company — Republicans believe Braun’s long been planning a potential run for the state’s executive office. As a GOP senator, Braun’s assembled a reliably conservative voting record and talked about his party’s need to make plans to confront issues like health care and energy.
“In 2018, Mike Braun won a very competitive primary, he’s been a rock-ribbed conservative, and as a former CEO, serving as the next governor of Indiana fits him better than sitting in Washington,” said one Republican who knows Braun, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Should Braun make the leap, it would almost certainly invite a crowded GOP primary for his Senate seat in 2024. Braun’s term expires then, meaning he’ll have to choose between the governor’s race and his own reelection campaign.