Sen. Mike Braun Wins Indiana GOP Gubernatorial Primary

The state’s junior senator defeated five GOP competitors in a race costing more than $35 million.

INDIANAPOLIS—U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) has won the Republican gubernatorial primary and will square off against Democrat Jennifer McCormick in the Nov. 5 general election.

Mr. Braun defeated a field of five competitors, including incumbent Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, in a contest that consumed more than $35 million. Ms. McCormick was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

With the presidential nominations settled pending ratification at this summer’s party conventions, the gubernatorial contest motivated some voters, like Mike Kelly of McCordsville, to turn out for this primary.

“It was the governor and Senate races for me,” Mr. Kelly told The Epoch Times. Noting that several of them were current or former officeholders, he added, “This is a referendum on their performance.”

Mr. Braun had consistently led in pre-race polling, holding a sizable lead over Ms. Crouch, his nearest challenger.

Ms. Crouch, a veteran Indiana politician with nearly 20 years in state government, was unable to gain ground on Mr. Braun despite compiling an impressive list of endorsements from Indiana political figures. She campaigned on a pledge to eliminate Indiana’s income tax.

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After the race, Ms. Crouch threw her support behind Mr. Braun. “While today’s vote did not give us the victory for which we worked so hard, I am respectful of the outcome and grateful for the opportunity God has given me to meet so many wonderful people,” she wrote on X. “We must come together as a Party and a people to ensure we elect Mike Braun in November.”

Brad Chambers and Eric Doden, both former state secretaries of commerce, behind Ms. Crouch, followed by  Curtis Hills, a former state attorney general, and political newcomer Jamie Reitenour.

Battle Lines: Abortion, Education

Both Mr. Braun and Ms. McCormick have campaigned on job creation and responsible government spending. The differentiating issues in the general election are likely to revolve around education policy and access to abortion.

Ms. McCormick intends to make the latter issue central to her campaign, a tactic that has proven successful in other states. Virginia Democrats last year took advantage of Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s interest in a 15-week abortion ban to campaign against the idea, regaining control of the state’s General Assembly.

“I’m fighting to restore women’s reproductive rights and freedoms,” Ms. McCormick told The Epoch Times on May 7. “Whoever comes out of the Republican primary has made it clear that they support what’s happening here, and maybe taking it a step further.”

Indiana’s current law allows abortion through to the tenth week of pregnancy, only in cases of fatal fetal abnormality, to protect the physical life and health of the mother and in cases of rape or incest.

The law, passed in 2022, is not yet in effect due to an ongoing court challenge.

Mr. Braun is pro-life but has cast the issue in terms of support for healthy families rather than merely as a prohibition of abortion.

“State lawmakers must work to ensure the gains we have made to protect life are secured and strengthened while working to help mothers and their infants receive the care and social support they deserve to ensure a healthy start to life,” Mr. Braun states on his campaign website.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jennifer McCormick visits the polling site at St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, Ind., on May 7, 2024. (Lawrence Wilson/The Epoch Times)
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jennifer McCormick visits the polling site at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, Ind., on May 7, 2024. (Lawrence Wilson/The Epoch Times)

Mr. Braun has also campaigned for education reform, an issue Ms. McCormick, a former state superintendent of public instruction, intends to own.

“I support public education,” Ms. McCormick said, adding that many Republican politicians favor privatizing K-12 education. “But 90 percent of our families have said, ‘We choose public.’”

Mr. Braun, a former school board member, is a proponent of school choice. “Parents are the primary stakeholders in their children’s education, and every family, regardless of income or zip code, should be able to enroll in a school of their choice,” his website states.

Finances

Mr. Braun, having spent $9.2 million on the primary contest, enters the general election with a war chest of just under $950,000 as of April 15.

Ms. McCormick had a campaign balance of just over $224,000 as of April 15.

The 2020 gubernatorial race consumed $9.1 million. The incumbent Republican, Eric Holcomb, spent $7.9 million, and Democratic challenger Woody Myers spent $1.2 million.

Republicans have held the governor’s mansion since 2005. The general election will take place on Nov. 5.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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