US Election 2024 Governor Indiana

6 Republican candidates for governor of Indiana to debate ahead of primary

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Candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Indiana’s next governor will take to the debate stage Tuesday night, two weeks ahead of the state’s May 7 primary election.

Each of the six candidates in the competitive, multi-million dollar primary race have cast themselves as an outsider in an appeal to conservative voters, despite five holding statewide roles at some point. Whoever wins the primary is most likely to take the November general election in a state that reliably elects Republicans.

Tuesday is the last televised debate before the primary for the candidates vying to replace term-limited Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, who has not endorsed a candidate. Early voting has already started in Indiana.

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U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, who flipped a Democratic Senate seat in 2018, boasts such advantages as name recognition, money and former President Donald Trump’s endorsement. Braun’s campaign spent over $6 million in 2024, according to the latest summary report. But he may not be able to attend the debate because of Senate votes that begin Tuesday in Washington on aid packages for Ukraine and Israel.

Sen. Mike Braun, R-Indiana

Sen. Mike Braun speaks during a Republican Indiana gubernatorial candidate forum in Carmel, Indiana, on Jan. 25, 2024. Braun has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump for Indiana’s governorship. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch — another familiar name thanks to running twice with Holcomb — has campaigned to slash the state’s income tax and promised to boost addiction and mental illness services. Crouch ended the most recent fundraising period with $3 million — the most cash on hand of any Indiana gubernatorial candidate. But she spent only $2.1 million in the first three months of the year.

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Businessperson and former commerce secretary Brad Chambers ‘ messaging is more moderate than the other candidates, focusing on the economy. Chambers spent $6.7 million this year and reports show he has contributed $8 million to his campaign.

The top priorities for Eric Doden, also a former state’s commerce secretary, include a plan to invest in Indiana’s small towns. He spent $5.2 million in the first three months of this year and last reported having about $250,000 of cash on hand.

Once a rising star in Indiana politics, former Attorney General Curtis Hill has struggled to compete. Hill lost the Republican delegation nomination in 2020 following allegations that he groped four women in 2018. Also running is Jamie Reitenour, a mother with no political experience, with backing of Hamilton County Moms For Liberty. She has said she would appoint its leader to head the state education department.

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