First Democrat emerges in race for Braun’s Senate seat

Longtime public figure Marc Carmichael said he will campaign for Indiana’s open U.S. Senate seat in 2024—the first Democrat to announce for the seat currently held by Sen. Mike Braun, who is stepping down to run for governor.

Carmichael targeted U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, a Republican—who announced his intention to run for the Senate seat in January—saying Banks was “mean-spirited” and “out of touch” with Hoosier voters.

“I’m running because I want to be of dignified and dedicated service to Indiana and all Hoosiers, in the mold of legislators like Richard Lugar and Lee Hamilton,” Carmichael said in a release. “We deserve better than to be represented by someone as mean-spirited, blindly partisan and out of touch with the majority of Hoosiers as Jim Banks. His attacks on innocent LGBTQ children for purely political gain are disgusting and his vote against certifying the Biden election and dishonest rhetoric on Fox News after that election help lead to the riot at the U. S. Capitol on January 6. He should be ashamed.”

In his announcement, Banks promised to be a “conservative fighter” in the upper chamber. No other Republicans have announced a run for the seat—though many floated former Gov. Mitch Daniels as a possibility to appeal to more moderate voters.

Daniels formally quashed those rumors after a blistering ad campaign funded by Club For Growth, a conservative super PAC with ties to Banks, branded him as “out of date.”

Carmichael, in his announcement, pointed to those actions as evidence that Banks was ill-suited to represent the state in the Senate.

“Daniels is too moderate and conciliatory for today’s Republican party,” Carmichael said. “It shows how desperate Banks and (Club for Growth PAC President David) McIntosh are to keep the Republican Party on the extreme MAGA fringe where they are.”

The former state representative and former president of the Indiana Beverage Alliance promised to support the military, build a strong economy and create good-paying jobs. Additional platform commitments include:

  • Codifying Roe v. Wade
  • Banning military-style assault weapons
  • Immediate action on global warming
  • Standing up for LGBTQ youth
  • Confirming fair and impartial federal judges
  • Reclassifying marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug
  • Lowering drug costs
  • Pushing for Medicare for all

To qualify for the ballot, Carmichael must first collect the signatures of 500 verified voters in each of Indiana’s nine congressional districts—an effort which he said was already underway.

Braun, Indiana’s junior senator, joins Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Fort Wayne businessman Eric Doden and Jamie Reitenour in what promises to be an expensive GOP primary campaign. Former Indiana Superintendent for Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick and perennial candidate Bob Kern are campaigning for the Democratic nomination while Libertarian Donald Rainwater faces no primary opponents.

However, similar to the U.S. Senate, candidates must obtain 500 signatures from verified voters in each district to appear on the ballot.

By Whitney Downard. The Indiana Capital Chronicle is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that covers state government, policy and elections.