Mike Braun

Last updated

Mike Braun
Mike Braun, Official Portrait, 116th Congress.jpg
United States Senator
from Indiana
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
Servingwith Todd Young
Preceded by Joe Donnelly
Member of the IndianaHouseofRepresentatives
from the 63rd district
In office
November 5, 2014 November 1, 2017
Preceded by Mark Messmer
Succeeded by Shane Lindauer
Personal details
Born (1954-03-24) March 24, 1954 (age 66)
Jasper, Indiana, U.S.
Political party Republican (2012–present)
Other political
affiliations
Democratic (before 2012) [1]
Spouse(s)
Maureen Braun
(m. 1976)
Children4
Relatives Steve Braun (brother)
ResidenceJasper, Indiana
Education Wabash College (BA)
Harvard University (MBA)
Net worth$37–95 million [2]
Website Senate website

Michael K. Braun [3] ( /ˈbrɔːn/ ; born March 24, 1954) is an American businessman and politician serving as the junior United States senator from Indiana. Previously, he represented the 63rd district in the Indiana House of Representatives from 2014 to 2017. A member of the Republican Party, Braun was elected to the United States Senate in 2018, defeating Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly. [4]

Contents

Braun opposes the Affordable Care Act, same-sex marriage, abortion, and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. He is a self-described conservationist who has pressured the Republican Party to take climate change more seriously, but he also supported U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords. During Trump's presidency, he supported Trump's trade and tariff policies after having previously been a free trade advocate. Braun voted to acquit Trump in the impeachment trial related to the Trump-Ukraine scandal. After Joe Biden won the 2020 election and Trump refused to concede while making false claims of fraud, Braun defended Trump's attempt to overturn the election results.

Early life, education and business career

Braun was born in Jasper, Indiana, on March 24, 1954. [5] He graduated from Jasper High School. Braun was a three-sport star athlete; he married his high school sweetheart, Maureen, [6] who was a cheerleader. [7] He attended the all-male Wabash College, where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in economics, and Harvard Business School, where he earned an MBA. [6] [8]

After graduating from Harvard, Braun moved back to Indiana and joined his father’s business manufacturing truck bodies for farmers. When the economy of the mid-1980s hit farmers hard and his father's business nearly went under, Braun steered the business in the more lucrative direction of selling truck accessories. The business subsequently grew from 15 employees to more than 300. [7] In 1986 Braun and Daryl Rauscher acquired Meyer Body Inc., a manufacturer of truck bodies and distributor of truck parts and equipment. [9] In 1995 Braun fully acquired the company. Meyer Body was renamed Meyer Distributing in 1999. Braun is its president and CEO. [10] In 2018 Braun's personal finance disclosure listed assets worth between $35 million and $96 million. [11]

Early political career

Braun was a member of the Jasper School Board from 2004 to 2014. [12]

He served in the Indiana House of Representatives for Indiana District 63 from 2014 to 2017. [6] Braun resigned from the state House on November 1, 2017, to focus on his U.S. Senate campaign. [13] In 2017, the American Conservative Union gave him a lifetime score of 82%. [14]

In July 2018, Braun called for the Indiana attorney general, Republican Curtis Hill, to resign amid allegations that Hill had drunkenly groped a lawmaker and three legislative staffers. [15]

U.S. Senate

2018 election

Braun campaigning in Greenfield, Indiana Mike Braun campaigning in Greenfield, Indiana.jpg
Braun campaigning in Greenfield, Indiana

Braun won the Republican primary for the United States Senate in the 2018 election, defeating U.S. Representatives Todd Rokita and Luke Messer [16] [17] by over 56,000 votes. He received 208,520 votes, or roughly 41% of the total. [4] Braun ran as an outsider, emphasizing his career in business. [18] He defeated Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly in the November general election [19] with 51% of the vote to Donnelly's 45%; the Libertarian candidate, Lucy Brenton, tallied less than 4%. [20] In late 2019, the Indianapolis Star reported that Braun's 2018 campaign was the beneficiary of $2.8 million in spending by a political action committee with strong connections to indicted money launderer Lev Parnas and one of his shell companies. [21] Parnas supplied photographs of him and Braun embracing at a 2018 campaign event to the House of Representatives as part of his cooperation with the impeachment of President Trump. They were made public in January 2020. [22]

Tenure

2010s

On January 3, 2019, Braun was sworn in as the junior United States senator from Indiana by Vice President Mike Pence. [23]

On May 24, 2019, Braun was one of eight senators who voted against a $19.1 billion emergency aid package for states and territories that endured hurricanes, floods and fires. Braun said the disaster assistance process was "just another path for runaway spending on unrelated projects." Despite his opposition, the package was enacted with bipartisan support and President Trump's approval. [24]

After Trump announced that American troops would pull out of northern Syria in October 2019, Braun supported the move, saying, "I don’t think we can be the policeman of the world. We should lead, but we should do it in a way that is sustainable." [25] As a result, in that month, Turkey launched a military offensive against the American-allied Kurds in that area. After that, Braun called Trump "smart", questioning why the United States should "be in the crossfire" between Turkey and the Kurds. He called the idea that ISIS would recover strength as a result of the conflict "an assumption". [26]

On December 10, 2019, Braun said that the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump had been a "disaster for Democrats", adding that Democrats had wanted to impeach Trump ever since his election in 2016, "when they didn't have any idea of what their reason would be." [27]

2020s

In May 2020, Senator Chuck Schumer put forth a resolution to officially release the guidance by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on how to safely lift restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. A leaked version of the guidance showed that it was more detailed and restrictive than the White House recommendations released in April 2020. Braun blocked Schumer's resolution, saying that the CDC's recommendations would hinder the economy. [28]

On October 26, 2020, Braun voted to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. [29] He said Barrett would be "one of the best Supreme Court justices that we’ve put on the bench in a long time, someone that is that humble and that smart and embedded in those Midwestern values." [30]

Braun announced he planned to oppose the certification of the Electoral College count on January 6, 2021. He was participating in the certification when Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. In the wake of the attack, he tweeted, "Though I will continue to push for a thorough investigation into the election irregularities many Hoosiers are concerned with as my objection was intended, I have withdrawn that objection and will vote to get this ugly day behind us." He voted to support the certification after Congress returned to session. [31] The South Bend Tribune called Braun's flip-flop "a case of too little, too late." [32] The Democratic Party of Indiana called for Braun's resignation, saying he “incited violence to overturn the presidential election and end American democracy.” [33]

Committee assignments

For the 116th United States Congress Braun was named to five Senate committees. [34] They are

Caucuses

Political positions

Health care

Braun opposes the Affordable Care Act, supported efforts at the congressional level to repeal it, and supports a lawsuit to roll it back. [35] [36] Braun has called for "free-market competition" and "market-driven" solutions on health care. [37] During his 2018 Senate campaign, he criticized incumbent Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly as a "defender of Obamacare." [35] He expressed support for keeping in place protections for individuals with preexisting conditions; Politico and PolitiFact noted that both the House efforts and the lawsuit to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which Braun supported, would weaken protections for preexisting conditions. [35] [36]

Immigration

Braun has said, "building the wall must be the first step to any solution" on illegal immigration. [38] [37] He opposes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as minors, known as DREAMers. [38]

Tax reform

Braun supported the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the Republican Party's tax reform bill. [37] He said the tax reform bill was "revenue-neutral"; the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill would increase U.S. debt. [37] Braun has called for cuts to the U.S. budget, saying that the U.S. "has a spending problem." [37]

Free trade

In 2018, Braun supported Trump's trade and tariff policies, saying that they have "yielded phenomenal results." [37] [39] Previously, he supported free trade policies. [39]

Abortion

Braun opposes abortion. [37]

LGBT rights

Asked for his view on the legalization of same-sex marriage, Braun said, "I believe in traditional marriage." [37] [40] He fought to keep marriage defined as "between a man and a woman" in the Indiana Republican Party platform. [40] In the Indiana state legislature, he supported the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act and opposed amendments to the bill that would have banned discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. [40]

Environmentalism

Braun is a self-described conservationist. [41] He has called Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg an "inspiration" and advocated that the Republican Party be more aggressive in combating climate change. Though he opposed the 2015 Paris climate change agreement, Braun supports using reforestation, carbon pricing, and carbon capture to reduce or mitigate carbon dioxide emissions linked to climate change. [41] He also serves as the chair of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, which was founded in October 2019. [42] [41] Braun sponsored the Growing Climate Solutions Act, a bill that would make it simpler for farmers to sell carbon credits on existing carbon trading markets in California and in the Northeast. [43]

Donald Trump

After Trump's impeachment trial, Braun voted to acquit Trump. When asked whether it is acceptable for Trump withhold foreign aid to coerce a foreign leader to investigate Joe Biden, he said that he did not believe that such behavior was proper but that "it didn't happen." [44] Braun also said that Trump did what he did out of a desire to reduce corruption in Ukraine. [45] After Trump was acquitted, Braun said that Trump "hopefully" learned something from the trial. [46] [47]

After Biden won the 2020 presidential election, Trump refused to concede and made unsubstantiated claims of election fraud. Braun defended Trump's attempt to overturn the election results and subvert the democratic process. [48] He wrote a Washington Examiner editorial criticizing the media for not taking accusations of voter fraud seriously. [48]

Electoral history

Republican Primary Indiana House of Representatives, 63rd District, 2014 [49]
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Republican Mike Braun4,61166.8%
Republican Richard Moss2,29233.59%
Turnout 6,903
Indiana House of Representatives, 63rd District, 2014 [50]
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Republican Mike Braun13,329100%
Turnout 13,329
Indiana House of Representatives, 63rd District, 2016 [51]
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Republican Mike Braun19,22871.75%
Democratic Andrea Hulsman7,57028.25%
Turnout 26,798
Republican Primary US Senate, Indiana, 2018 [52]
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Republican Mike Braun 208,497 41.18%
Republican Todd Rokita 151,90430.00%
Republican Luke Messer 145,93628.82%
Turnout 506,337
United States Senate election in Indiana, 2018 [53]
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Republican Mike Braun 1,158,000 50.73% +6.45%
Democratic Joe Donnelly (incumbent)1,023,55344.84%-5.20%
Libertarian Lucy Brenton100,9424.42%-1.26%
Write-in 70<0.01%N/A
Total votes'2,282,565''100%'N/A
Republican gain from Democratic

Personal life

Braun and his wife, Maureen, have four children. [6] He is Roman Catholic. [54] Braun's brother, Steve Braun, is also a politician in Indiana. [55]

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References

  1. Bradner, Eric (May 6, 2018). "A leading candidate in Indiana's GOP primary was considered a 'hard Democrat' by his own party". CNN . Retrieved February 6, 2019. One of the top candidates in Indiana's GOP primary was labeled in the Republican National Committee's voter files as a "hard Democrat" as recently as December. ... Braun's voting record shows Braun took a Democratic ballot in some of the highest-profile primary battles the party has had in Indiana in recent decades -- and skipped the most hotly contested GOP statewide races. Braun voted in the Democratic primaries in 1992, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006 and 2008 -- which were largely solidly Democratic election years. He skipped the primary in 1994, 2000, 2002 and 2010 -- all strong Republican years.
  2. Francisco, Brian (November 26, 2017). "Mike Braun of Jasper is the richest of Indiana's U.S. Senate hopefuls". Indiana Economic Digest. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
  3. "Indiana Candidate's Statement of Organization" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 26, 2018. Retrieved December 25, 2018.
  4. 1 2 "2018 Election Results, News, Candidates & Polls". NBC News. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  5. Gonzales, Nathan (December 1, 2017). "Candidate Conversation - Mike Braun (R)". Inside Elections. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Neal, Candy (August 2, 2017). "Jasper's Braun launching bid for U.S. Senate". Dubois County Herald. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  7. 1 2 King, Robert. "Indiana Senate Race 2018: Mike Braun is the candidate with business credentials". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  8. "Mike Braun For Senate – A Business Leader & Small Business Champion". NFIB. October 17, 2018. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  9. "Timeline". Meyerdistributing.com. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  10. "Meyer Distributing named Warehouse Distributor of the Year". Dubois County Free Press. November 4, 2017. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
  11. Erdody, Lindsey (May 24, 2018). "U.S. Sen. candidate Mike Braun's assets worth $35M to $96M". Indianapolis Business Journal. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  12. "Braun seeks second term as state representative". Washington Times Herald. February 2, 2016. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  13. Neal, Candy (October 31, 2017). "Lindauer replaces Braun as state representative". Dubois County Herald. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  14. American Conservative Union Foundation. "2017 Ratings of Indiana" (PDF).
  15. "Senate candidate Mike Braun calls for Indiana AG to resign". WNDU. Associated Press. July 10, 2018. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
  16. Grant, Mike (August 2, 2017). "Braun set for U.S. Senate run". Washington Times-Herald . Retrieved August 8, 2017.
  17. "Wealthy state lawmaker joins GOP's Indiana Senate race". The Washington Post . Associated Press. August 8, 2017. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
  18. "GOP nominee who rails against outsourcing has brand that markets Chinese parts: AP". CBS News. August 10, 2018. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  19. Chris Sikich, Marisa Kwiatkowski, Tim Evans (November 6, 2018). "Republican Mike Braun unseats incumbent Democrat Joe Donnelly in Indiana Senate race". The Indianapolis Star . Retrieved November 6, 2018.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  20. "Indiana Election Results". New York Times. November 9, 2018. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  21. Cook, Tony. "Rudy Giuliani's indicted associates attended Indiana GOP event that promoted Braun, others". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
  22. Cook, Tony (January 17, 2020). "New photo released by House committee shows U.S. Sen. Mike Braun with indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas. Here's what we wrote back in October about this event. https://www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/2019/10/23/lev-parnas-igor-fruman-rudy-giuliani-associates-attended-mike-braun-indiana-campaign-event/4069627002/ … via @indystar https://twitter.com/andrewdesiderio/status/1218311259378135040 …pic.twitter.com/FM8Dlz57Rn". @indystartony. Retrieved January 31, 2020.External link in |title= (help)
  23. "Mike Braun sworn in as a U.S. Senator". C-SPAN. January 3, 2019. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  24. "Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana votes against $19.1 billion disaster relief aid bill". WTHR-TV. May 24, 2019. Retrieved January 6, 2020.
  25. "Braun backs Trump on Syrian pullout". Tribune-Star. October 7, 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
  26. "Republican senators both blast and praise Trump's Syria policy". CNN . October 15, 2019. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
  27. "Senator Mike Braun: Impeachment Inquiry Has Been a Disaster for Democrats". 93.1 FM WIBC. December 10, 2019. Retrieved January 6, 2020.
  28. Stobbe, Mike; Dearen, Jason (May 13, 2020). "AP Exclusive: CDC guidance more restrictive than White House". Associated Press . Retrieved May 15, 2020.
  29. Pinsker, Adam (October 20, 2020). "Braun Urges Senate Colleagues To Confirm Coney-Barrett". Indiana Public Media. Retrieved November 13, 2020.
  30. Benbrook, Julia (October 26, 2020). "Indiana Senator Mike Braun reacts to confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett". WBND-LD . Retrieved November 13, 2020.
  31. "Indiana Senator Braun dropped Biden objection after Capitol mob". Chesterton Tribune. Associated Press. January 8, 2021. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  32. "Our Opinion: Too little, too late from Indiana representatives". South Bend Tribune. January 8, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  33. "Indiana Democratic Party calls for resignation of Sen. Braun". Eyewitness News (WEHT/WTVW). January 7, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  34. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 18, 2017. Retrieved February 24, 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  39. 1 2 Alesia, Mark. "How Trump's tariffs, trade policy create tricky terrain for Mike Braun and Joe Donnelly". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  40. 1 2 3 Groppe, Maureen. "What you need to know about Joe Donnelly's and Mike Braun's voting records on gay rights". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  41. 1 2 3 Alemany, Jacqueline (January 24, 2020). "Sen. Mike Braun wants Trump and the GOP to take climate change seriously". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  42. Tsirkin, Julie (October 23, 2019). "Senators launch bipartisan climate change initiative". NBC News. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
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Indiana House of Representatives
Preceded by
Mark Messmer
Member of the Indiana House of Representatives
from the 63rd district

2014–2017
Succeeded by
Shane Lindauer
Party political offices
Preceded by
Richard Mourdock
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Indiana
(Class 1)

2018
Most recent
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Joe Donnelly
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Indiana
2019–present
Served alongside: Todd Young
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Mitt Romney
United States Senators by seniority
88th
Succeeded by
Josh Hawley