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Mike Braun wins crowded Indiana Republican gubernatorial primary

Mike Braun stands on a stage, waving to the crowd while his other arm is around his wife, Maureen. Braun is a White man with thinning hair, wearing glasses and a blue dress shirt.
Brandon Smith
IPB News
U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and his wife Maureen celebrate with supporters after his victory in Indiana's Republican gubernatorial primary on May 7, 2024.

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) has won Indiana'sfirst competitive gubernatorial primary in two decades.

The Associated Press called the race just as the final polls closed in the state.

Braun opted not to run for a second term in the U.S. Senate to pursue the open governor’s seat. He beat out a field that included Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, former state Commerce Secretary Brad Chambers, Fort Wayne businessman Eric Doden, former state Attorney General Curtis Hill and religious conservative Jamie Reitenour.

Some of those candidates spent millions of dollars in a race that went negative over the last several weeks. But Braun said some of his opponents already reached out to congratulate him.

“You have thick skin to get through it and then, you have to be very forgiving and don’t hold any grudges if you’re going to actually get something done,” Braun said.

Crouch, who came in second in the race, urged her supporters to unite behind him.

“I always say we can do the best that we can — and we did. And we ran a positive campaign focused on the issues and focused on Hoosiers,” Crouch said. “And we elevated the conversation to where now we have something to be able to focus on moving forward in the future.”

In a statement, Chambers said he believes, with the right leadership, Indiana can be better than it already is.

“I hope U.S. Sen. Braun will be the leader Indiana needs and act ambitiously to create more opportunities that will lift up every Hoosier,” Chambers said.

Braun was considered the frontrunnersince launching his bid in December 2022. Beyond the name recognition that came with winning the statewide race for U.S. Senate, the former auto parts business owner had a financial advantage due in part to his ability to inject his personal wealth into the race.

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Part of Braun’s message is informed by his service in the U.S. Senate, where he railed against government spending.

“And I think it’s going to be up to the states to show how we get this country back to where the Founders intended it to be — freedom and opportunity, the two most important things,” Braun said.

Braun also picked up a key endorsement, former President Donald Trump. Trump is still very popular in Indiana after winning the state by double digits in both 2016 and 2020.

The southern Indiana Republican will now faceDemocrat Jennifer McCormick andLibertarian Donald Rainwater in November.

McCormick is the former state superintendent of public instruction, an office she served in as a Republican before switching her party affiliation in recent years. In a statement, McCormick said the primary results have set up a “clear choice” in November.

“I will fight to restore our reproductive rights and freedoms, champion for our kids, and ensure Hoosiers earn the wages they deserve,” McCormick said.

Rainwater previously ran for governor in 2020, when he secured the largest vote share for a Libertarian in state history.

This story has been updated.

Indiana Public Broadcasting's Violet Comber-Wilen contributed to this story.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.