INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
A wealthy Indiana state legislator is joining what has already become a
bitter campaign for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic U.S.
Sen. Joe Donnelly next year.
State Rep. Mike
Braun of Jasper said Tuesday that his background owning and operating a
national auto parts distributor gives him outsider credentials for a GOP
primary race expected to include U.S. Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita.
If elected, Braun
pledges to support President Donald Trump “as he takes on the DC swamp.”
presidential election showed that Hoosiers know outsiders with business
experience are the country’s best hope to fix the broken political system in
Washington,” Braun said in a statement.
Braun was first
elected to the Legislature in 2014 and is little known around the state. But
if he does indeed have considerable personal wealth, he could self-finance
in a race that is destined to be a high-dollar affair.
A 2016 financial
disclosure Braun filed as a member of Indiana’s Legislature indicates he and
his wife possess a minimum of $2 million in business assets.
announcement Tuesday took square aim at Donnelly for a Senate voting record
that aligns “with the liberals in Washington.”
But he has
previously said that hostility between Messer and Rokita is turning off
voters. He says that will only help Donnelly, who is considered one of the
most vulnerable Democrats up for re-election next year.
announced that he was running for the Senate seat, while Rokita had yet to
formally say if he’s running. Already, though, the two congressmen have
taken rhetorical swipes at each other, including each accusing the other of