U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind) wins Indiana gubernatorial Republican primary

On May 7, Mike Braun (R) won the Republican primary election for governor of Indiana with 39.5% of the vote. Braun defeated Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch (R), who finished in second with 21.9%, as well as Brad Chambers (R), Eric Doden (R), Curtis Hill (R), and Jamie Reitenour (R). Incumbent Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) was term-limited.

Braun, Chambers, Crouch, and Doden had led the race in media mentions, polling, and fundraising.

The Associated Press’ Isabella Volmert said campaign finance reports reflected “a multimillion-dollar race that has become a competition of who can out-conservative the others for primary votes in a state with historically low turnout.” The primary was the most expensive in the state’s history as of April 2024. Between January 1, 2023, and March 31, 2024, candidates spent more than $35,000,000.

According to a 2023 report released by Indiana University Northwest’s Center for Urban and Regional Excellence, “Indiana consistently placed in the bottom 10 of all states on midterm voter turnout since 2010.”

Braun was elected U.S. Senator in 2019. Braun served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 2014 to 2017. Braun founded Meyer Distributing in the mid-1980s and was CEO until 2019. Braun said being governor is “like running the biggest business in our state, now. And when you’ve got 30 agencies, you’ve got to know how to handle personnel. I mean, I did that for a living before I got to the Senate.” Braun ran on boosting economic growth, improving the K-12 education system, and making healthcare more affordable. Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Braun.

At the time of his announcement, Braun was the first incumbent U.S. Senator to run for governor since 2015, when David Vitter (R-La.) ran and lost in the 2015 general election for Governor of Louisiana.

Crouch became Lieutenant Governor of Indiana in 2017. She previously served as Indiana State Auditor from 2014 to 2017 and as a state representative from 2005 to 2014. Crouch said, “As governor, I will boldly lead Indiana into the future. We’ll start by leading the fight to eliminate Indiana’s state income tax.” Crouch’s other issues included combating addiction and investing in mental health resources. She also ran on counteracting China’s influence in Indiana. U.S. Rep. Greg Pence (R) endorsed Crouch.

Chambers founded and served as CEO of the real estate investment firm Buckingham Companies. From 2021 to 2023, Chambers served as Indiana Secretary of Commerce. Chambers made boosting economic growth the cornerstone of his campaign, saying, “I firmly believe that when you’re growing the economy, then you take the proceeds of a growing economy and you can fix the things that need to be fixed. You can invest in education, you can invest in public safety, you can invest in mental health and health care.” Chambers also ran on improving public safety and the education system.

Doden is a principal at a private equity firm. In 2012, then-Gov. Mike Pence (R) appointed him president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), and he served in that role until 2015. From 2015 to 2018, Doden was CEO of Greater Fort Wayne Inc., Allen County’s chamber of commerce. Doden said his focus on the economic development of Indiana’s small towns and his plan to implement zero-cost adoptions for the state’s foster care children set him apart from his opponents.

Curtis Hill and Jamie Reitenour also ran in the election.

This was one of 11 gubernatorial elections taking place in 2024. The governor serves as a state’s top executive official and is the only executive office elected in all 50 states. There are currently 27 Republican governors and 23 Democratic governors. Click here for an overview of all 11 gubernatorial elections taking place in 2024.

Heading into the 2024 elections, there were 23 Republican trifectas, 17 Democratic trifectas, and 10 divided governments where neither party holds trifecta control. There were 25 Republican triplexes, 20 Democratic triplexes, and five divided governments where neither party holds triplex control.

A state government trifecta refers to a situation where one party controls a state’s governorship and majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. A state government triplex refers to a situation where the governor, attorney general, and secretary of state are all members of the same political party.

The general election is Nov. 5. Braun will face former Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick, who ran unopposed in the May 7 Democratic primary, Donald Rainwater (L), and Christopher Stried (Independent).