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Rep. Banks Announces Run for US Senate

FILE PHOTO: Brandon Smith
Indiana Public Broadcasting
Third District Republican Representative Jim Banks has declared his candidacy for US Senate

Third District Republican Congressman Jim Banks set his sights on the United States Senate.

After announcing he was considering a run for Mike Braun’s soon-to-be vacant Senate seat (the Republican announced his campaign for governor last year), Banks formally declared his candidacy for Senate on Tuesday, saying in his announcement “Indiana deserves a conservative fighter in the United States Senate.”

Banks, having already announced plans to create an “Anti-Woke Caucus” in the House of Representatives, based much of his campaign announcement on “stopping radical, socialist Democrats from trying to change America.”

He will be joining what could become a crowded senatorial Republican primary. Governor Holcomb is considering a run for Senate. Fifth-district Republican Rep. Victoria Spartz is considering a run. Former Governor Mitch Daniels’ name has been mentioned in polls as a preferred candidate.

Professor Michael Wolf, acting director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics, said Banks is in a good position to compete with all three of those potential competitors because of his popularity with DC Republicans on the Hill, his national profile from his frequent appearances on Fox News and his public adverse relationship with prominent Democrats, but Wolf said of those three, Mitch Daniels would be Banks’ biggest challenger.

“The thing about former Governor Daniels is that he’s really well-liked in Washington, too but from a different crowd,” Wolf said. “He’s really well-liked by the Washington media very much, and among very traditional Republicans in Washington, he’s a very popular figure.”

Wolf also said a potential Banks loss in this race would likely not knock him out of the national spotlight entirely.

“I think he’s well-positioned to land on his feet,” Wolf said. “To be chair of the Republican Study Committee is a very high-profile position. I mean, he almost won for the House Republican Whip. He’s well-liked in Washington. He will not have a problem. He’s got good connections with media.”

Holcomb, Spartz and Daniels have yet to formally announce their intentions regarding this senatorial race. The deadline to file as a candidate is not until February 2024. Banks running for Senate will also open up his seat in the US House of Representatives.

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