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Indiana Voters to Pick Party Candidates in Competitive, Multimillion Dollar Primaries

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — In deep red Indiana, where Republicans hold a supermajority in both chambers of the state legislature and most top offices are held by GOP politicians, the May 7 primary will determine the outcome of the general election in many races.

The most-watched is the GOP race for governor, a six-way competition of office-seekers who all have cast themselves as outsiders in an appeal to conservative voters.

Indiana also will send at least three new representatives to the U.S. House following a series of retirements.

Here’s a look at the key races:

GOVERNOR

Six Republicans are vying for the seat being vacated by outgoing Gov. Eric Holcomb, who is term-limited. Holcomb has not endorsed a candidate.

The race is the most expensive primary in Indiana history, with about $20 million spent in the first three months of 2024 alone.

The winner of the GOP primary will face long-shot bids in November from the sole Democratic candidate, Jennifer McCormick, and the Libertarian nominee, Donald Rainwater.

All six Republican candidates have cast themselves as outsiders, yet five are well-established figures who hold or previously served in statewide roles.

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun has been endorsed by Republican former President Donald Trump. Trump won the state by 16 percentage points in the 2020 general election.

Braun has name recognition and money; his campaign spent over $6 million in 2024, according to the latest summary report. He also is known for flipping a Democratic Senate seat when he beat Joe Donnelly in 2018.

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, known for running alongside Holcomb twice, has campaigned to slash the state’s income tax and boost addiction and mental illness services. She ended the most recent fundraising period with the most cash on hand of the candidates with $3 million as of April 1, but spent less — $2.1 million — in the first three months of the year.

A Crouch victory likely would ensure Indiana has its first female governor. McCormick, the Democratic nominee, is unchallenged in her primary.

Businessman and former commerce secretary Brad Chambers spent $6.7 million this year and reports show he has contributed $9.6 million to his campaign. Chambers’ messaging has been comparatively more moderate, focusing on the economy and support for law enforcement. He has avoided criticizing Holcomb where other candidates have knocked his administration on COVID-19 pandemic-era policies.

Eric Doden has a similar resume, with a stint as the state’s commerce secretary. His top priorities include a plan invest in Indiana’s “Main Street,” or 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 seen as a probable Hoosier governor, former Attorney General Curtis Hill has struggled to compete. Hill lost the Republican delegation nomination in 2020 following allegations he groped four women at a party in 2018. Jamie Reitenour also is running, with backing of Hamilton County Moms For Liberty and has said she would appoint its leader to head the state education department.

US SENATE

Braun’s decision to leave the Senate and run for governor created a domino effect in Indiana’s congressional delegation. U.S. Rep. Jim Banks is the sole Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, leaving his office in Indiana’s 3rd Congressional district.

A series of legal battles ultimately removed egg farmer John Rust from the Republican ballot.

Banks, an outspoken Trump supporter, will face either Marc Carmichael or Valerie McCray as the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in November.

US HOUSE

Indiana will send at least three new representatives to the U.S. House.

Congressmen Greg Pence, brother of former Vice President Mike Pence, and Larry Bucshon both announced they will forgo reelection earlier this year.

Eight Republican candidates are vying for Banks’ former seat in northeast Indiana. The matchup includes former U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman, state Sen. Andy Zay, former Allen Circuit Court judge Wendy Davis and a well-funded but relatively unknown nonprofit executive, Tim Smith.

Voters in Pence’s 6th district in east Indiana are the target of an expensive contest between staunch Second Amendment conservative state Rep. Mike Speedy, and Jefferson Shreve, a businessman who pumped $13 million into an unsuccessful campaign for Indianapolis mayor last year.

Shreve has loaned $4.5 million to his congressional campaign and entered the final weeks of campaigning with $1.49 million of cash on hand, while Speedy entered with just over $153,000 in the bank, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

In Bucshon’s district in southern Indiana, eight candidates seek to replace the congressman who took office in 2011.

The Republican Jewish Coalition has shelled out $1 million to attack former U.S. Rep. John Hostettler, who has long opposed the U.S. allyship with Israel. A spokesperson said the group is urging support for state Sen. Mark Messmer.

Messmer entered the final weeks with roughly $121,000 of cash on hand, far outpacing Hostettler’s about $29,000.

In central Indiana’s 5th district, U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz faces a tough primary after reversing her plan to leave Congress.

Spartz’s main competition, state Sen. Chuck Goodrich, has outpaced her in spending this year by millions of dollars.

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