Braun, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, was first elected to the Senate in 2018, unseating Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) after serving in the Indiana state House. Several Republicans, including former Mike Pence aide Eric Doden, have announced they would run for governor as current Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb is term-limited in 2024.
“Mike Braun has filed his paperwork to run for governor and will be making an official announcement of his candidacy very soon,” Josh Kelley, chief of staff of Braun, said in a statement on Wednesday to several news outlets, confirming his decision to run for governor. “That filing did occur yesterday,” Braun also confirmed to Politico. “We’ll talk to you down the road.”
In a Politico interview from September, Braun indicated that he would run for governor. “I’ll make a formal announcement somewhere probably late November, early December,” he said.
Notably, Braun was among several Republican senators who voted for Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), the head of the Senate GOP campaign arm, over Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) earlier this month.
Scott had criticized McConnell, who was ultimately reelected, over what he said were poor strategic decisions on part of the longtime GOP leader. Republicans were unable to retake a majority in the Senate during the Nov. 8 midterms.
“I don’t think we’re generating the results politically or governmentally,” Braun told reporters of the vote as he confirmed he favored Scott. “We don’t have an agenda. We don’t have a business plan. That doesn’t work anywhere else.”
“The way this place works, generally, change doesn’t come easily or quickly,” he added.
At least two House Republicans have indicated a possible run for Braun’s Senate seat in 2024.
“Congressman Banks is seriously considering running for the U.S. Senate and is strongly positioned to win a statewide primary and general election in Indiana. He will spend the holidays discussing with his wife, family and friends around the state how he can best serve Indiana,” a spokesperson for Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), the head of the House Republican Study Committee, told The Hill on Wednesday after Braun’s announcement.
And unnamed sources told Politico in September that Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.), a Ukrainian-born first-term House lawmaker, may consider running for the Senate seat. However, Spartz and her team have not publicly commented on the matter.
Doden, the former head of the Indiana Economic Development Corp., has been running for governor since early 2021, according to local media. He has emphasized his role in the administration of then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who was later elected vice president under Trump and has been signaling he may run for president in 2024.
As for Democrats, it’s unclear who might challenge Braun and the other possible GOP candidates in the 2024 Senate race.
Republicans, who control Indiana’s governor’s office and state legislature, have dominated Indiana’s elections in recent years. Trump bested Joe Biden by more than 16 percentage points during the 2020 election, and Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) easily won a second term in the Nov. 8 midterms over Democrat Thomas McDermott Jr.
There was early speculation that Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, a Democrat, would launch a Senate bid. However, Hogsett announced this month that he is seeking a third term as mayor of Indiana’s largest city and capital.
Meanwhile, Democrats will face a daunting task in holding onto their majority in the 2024 elections, when they will be defending 21 seats to the Republicans’ 10.
Two of those seats are in Republican-leaning states West Virginia and Montana. Another five are in the swing states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Arizona, all of which will be in play during the presidential election.
Currently, Democrats have a 50–49 majority in the Senate with Georgia’s runoff election scheduled for Dec. 6 between Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and GOP candidate Herschel Walker. According to Georgia election officials, early voting is underway and has been robust so far.
Reuters contributed to this report.