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3rd Dist. Rep. Jim Banks announces potential Senate run

Jim Banks 2022
FILE PHOTO: Brittany Smith
Rep. Jim Banks speaks to reporters at Allen County GOP Headquarters after the November 2022 election.

U.S. Republican Senator Mike Braun formally announced his candidacy for Indiana governor Monday.

As a result, Braun will not be running for re-election to his Senate seat, leaving it up for grabs in the 2024 election. Third District Republican Congressman Jim Banks, who just won a third term in Congress in November, has an idea of who could fill that seat.

In a statement released today, Banks says “I am strongly considering running for the open Indiana Senate seat in 2024, and I will spend the upcoming holidays praying and talking with my wife, family and close friends about how I can best serve Indiana.”

Mike Wolf is a professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at Purdue-Fort Wayne, as well as the acting director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics. He said Banks' high public profile could limit potential rivals in the race.

"He is a familiar face on Fox News, which likely will be the preeminent source of news for many party activists in the state as well as Republican primary voters. In other words, Banks has name recognition and solid Republican name branding before many other potential candidates even make their announcement, which could chase some candidates from even jumping into the race."

Allen County Republican Chairman Steve Shine says Banks is being “prudent” in speaking with those closest to him about taking on a position that “requires more work and responsibility.”

Shine, who has campaigned for Banks in the past, believes Banks would be “without question the favorite candidate for this portion of the state” and given his record, his popularity would “no doubt spread throughout the Hoosier state.”

Wolf said that sometimes statewide office holders focus their critiques of sitting Members of Congress on placing them firmly as “Washington” candidates and national figures.

"Banks would likely blunt this critique with his own criticisms of the Biden administration, but we don’t know the national mood in 2024, and if there is a vivid anti-Washington sentiment in the Republican electorate, it could make his primary run a bit more challenging depending on who he would be competing with," Wolf said.

Banks has not given a timeline for his decision.

Tony Sandleben joined the WBOI News team in September of 2022.