US Senator Mike Brown is filing for Indiana’s gubernatorial election

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Brown officially launched a 2024 gubernatorial committee in his home state of Indiana on Wednesday, which would have ruled out re-election to his Senate seat.

Brown, the 68-year-old wealthy founder of a national auto parts business, is the most prominent of several active potential GOP candidates to replace GOP Gov. Eric Holcomb, who cannot seek re-election due to term limits.

Brown would be heavily favored for a second Senate term in 2024 from Republican-dominated Indiana after his successful 2018 Senate campaign raised more than $11 million in personal loans to transform him from a little-known businessman to the ouster of Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly.

Josh Kelly, Brown’s chief of staff and senior political adviser, acknowledged the filing with the Indiana Department of Elections and said in an email that Brown will “officially announce his candidacy very soon.”

Brown campaigned in 2018 as a strong supporter of then-President Donald Trump and often aligned himself with the most conservative Republican members of the US Senate while bemoaning the pace of Senate debate. He backed Florida Sen. Rick Scott’s failed bid this month to unseat Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, saying in a statement that “conservative Hoosier Republicans are tired of the status quo.”

Brown has announced that he will vote against accepting Electoral College votes from some states. Democrat Joe Biden won the 2020 election over Trump. But he changed his mind after the January 6, 2021 uprising at the US Capitol, saying the violence had “made a world of difference” and that he would “vote to put this ugly day behind us”.

He recently fell out with fellow Indiana Republicans by publicly condemning Holcomb’s decision in March to veto a GOP-backed bill that would have banned transgender people from playing on Indiana girls’ sports teams.

Brown also split from Indiana Republican Sen. Todd Young, who won re-election in November, by voting against a bill on Tuesday that would protect same-sex and interracial marriage across the country. Brown told reporters earlier this year that the U.S. Supreme Court got it wrong with its 1967 decision legalizing interracial marriage nationwide, and later said he had misunderstood the issue.

State Democratic Party Chairman Mike Schmuhl blamed Brown for his vote for the marriage bill and his opposition to Biden’s economic recovery programs from COVID-19.

“Mike Brown did very little to improve the state of Indiana as a U.S. senator, and he certainly won’t do as governor,” Schmuhl said in a statement. “Brown’s half-hearted efforts were ineffective, and he was more likely to be noticed on national cable television shows than talking to Hoosiers in real life about solving real problems.”

There are many possible candidates for Indiana’s open governor seat.

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, who was Holcomb’s running mate in 2016 and 2020, has raised more than $2 million in an unannounced campaign, and Fort Wayne businessman Eric Doden has raised a similar amount since campaigning last year.

U.S. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth hinted at a possible run for other political office when he announced in January that he would not seek re-election, and some Republicans hope former Gov. Mitch Daniels will seek a return to the state House after he retires from Purdue University President positions at the end of December.

Brown said two weeks ago that he would not be fazed by a possible Republican nomination for governor and that he would not spend his money again on the 2024 campaign.

Two Republicans reportedly interested in running for the Senate seat if Brown does not seek re-election are U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, who ran unsuccessfully for the top Republican job in the House earlier this month, and U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz.

Discussions of possible 2024 Democratic candidates across the state have focused on Donnelly, who is now President Joe Biden’s ambassador to the Vatican, and former public schools superintendent Jennifer McCormick, who won election as a Republican in 2016, but has since switched parties after falling out with Republican state House leaders. on educational policy.

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