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State Rep. Braun Will Join U.S. Senate Race

Jasper legislator says he'll emphasize problem-solving in business, House

The Republican field for next year's Senate race is about to get bigger.

Jasper State Representative Mike Braun tells WIBC he's assembling a campaign team and will announce his candidacy in the next week or so. 

Braun's spent the summer gauging support, and says he believes Republicans want an outsider alternative to the brewing showdown between Congressmen Luke Messer and Todd Rokita, especially as that matchup has turned uglier. He says people have repeatedly told him they're turned off by the sniping, and concerned it will leave either congressman weakened for a general election campaign against Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly.

Three candidates making their first runs for office -- former Dan Coats aide Mark Hurt, Hamilton County businessman Terry Henderson, and Purdue Polytechnic Institute New Albany director Andrew Takami -- have already declared. But Braun says he'd combine a private-sector record as owner of a Jasper distribution company with government experience from his two terms in the House. 

Braun's positioning himself as a problem-solver in both roles. He boasts he played a role in the House in crafting the last two years' road funding bills. And he argues his business experience gives him a leg up on the health care debate that's stalemated the Senate. He says he'd like to see something similar to the self-insurance plan his company created for its employees, with health savings accounts and full coverage for preventive medicine.

Messer confirmed his candidacy last week. Rokita advisers have said his entry is "imminent."

State Rep. Mike Braun (R-Jasper) (Photo: Indiana House Republicans)

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