Sibling Revelry: Brothers in Thick of GOP Primaries for Senate, U.S. House seat
(ZIONSVILLE, Ind.) - While former State Representative Mike Braun pursues a Republican Senate nomination, his brother Steve is running for the U.S. House seat left open by one of Mike's opponents.
Like his brother, Steve Braun is a Harvard-educated former state representative. He actually started his campaign first -- he says Congressman Todd Rokita encouraged him to run for his Fourth District seat. A few months later, Braun's brother Mike jumped into the Senate race against Rokita and Congressman Luke Messer for the U.S. Senate.
Mike Braun says both campaigns may benefit from some synergy, with two separate sets of Braun signs plastered across yards in west-central Indiana, but both Brauns say each campaign's effect on the other has been minimal. Steve Braun says especially in the early days of the campaign, he'd be talking to prospective supporters and have to backtrack after being asked to distinguish himself from Messer and Rokita. And he says potential donors occasionally perk up or recoil because they assume Braun shares the criticisms Mike Braun has leveled at his opponents.
Both Brauns emphasize they're different candidates, running separate campaigns. But both are campaigning as fiscal conservatives, with a heavy emphasis on their business experience. Steve Braun boasts he used his background from a data-consulting company to find ways to apply data analysis to solve policy problems, in the House and as then-Governor Mike Pence's workforce development commissioner. Mike Braun's ads and campaign materials describe him as an outsider businessman, with no mention of his three years in the House.
And while Mike Braun campaigned this week with a candidate for Messer's House seat, both Brauns say they have no plans to campaign together.
Steve Braun is one of seven Republican candidates for Rokita's seat, along with former Mike Pence aide Diego Morales, Greencastle State Rep. Jim Baird, retired Army Capt. Jared Thomas, financial planner Kevin Grant, political newcomer Tim Radice, and former Libertarian legislative candidate James Nease.
The Brauns would be far from the first siblings to serve in Congress together -- the very first Congress included two brothers from Pennsylvania, Frederick and John Muhlenberg. Most recently, California's Linda and Loretta Sanchez served in the House together from 2002 until Loretta lost a Senate race in 2016.
Former State Rep. Mike Braun (R-Jasper) (Photo: Indiana House Republicans)