Indiana Republicans reject Mike Braun's pick for lieutenant governor, back far-right pastor

Mike Braun, who is leaving the Senate, endorsed state Rep. Julie McGuire for his running mate when he became the GOP nominee for governor. But during Saturday’s state Republican Party convention, delegates instead chose pastor Micah Beckwith.

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Indiana Republicans rejected Sen. Mike Braun’s choice for lieutenant governor on Saturday, instead nominating Micah Beckwith, a podcasting pastor with far-right views, to be Braun’s running mate.

Braun, who is leaving the Senate, endorsed state Rep. Julie McGuire for his running mate when he became the GOP nominee for governor. Indiana delegates usually back the nominee’s chosen running mate without a challenge.

But during Saturday’s state Republican Party convention, party delegates instead chose pastor Micah Beckwith, who promotes uncompromising positions on abortion, gender and sexuality and cohosts his “Jesus, Sex and Politics” podcast. The ultra-conservative Christian pastor lobbied delegates for a year to win the nomination at the convention on Saturday.

Beckwith received the votes of 891 delegates, while McGuire got 828 votes, Indiana Republican Party spokesperson Griffin Reid said.

Braun had been endorsed by former President Donald Trump and campaigned largely on national issues such as immigration. Trump made a surprise endorsement Thursday night for McGuire ahead of the convention, indicating Beckwith’s campaign had some teeth.

Braun will now run with Beckwith against Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jennifer McCormick, a former state education chief, and Libertarian nominee Donald Rainwater. Democrats haven’t won a statewide office in Indiana since 2012.

Beckwith, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress from central Indiana in 2020, actively campaigned for lieutenant governor for a year, courting delegates months ahead of the convention. He is known for his far-right stances on gender, sexuality and abortion. He cast himself as a political outsider who would keep the governor’s office in check, limit property taxes and oppose school efforts to support the LGBTQ+ community.

McGuire, from Indianapolis, was a policy analyst for Senate Republicans until 2022, when she unseated a representative who had angered other Republicans in part by repeatedly pushing a complete ban on abortion. Indiana’s current law allows exceptions in rare and limited circumstances.

Braun said he selected McGuire for her strongly conservative legislative and policy record despite her short time in office. If ultimately elected by voters in November, she would be the latest in a series of women to reach the second-highest office in a state that has never seen a female governor.

Indiana’s lieutenant governor runs four state agencies, ceremoniously presides over the Senate and would break tie votes there, if that would ever happen in a chamber where the GOP enjoys a supermajority.

Delegates sometimes buck their leaders’ choices. In 2022, they defied Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb’s backing of the incumbent secretary of state for a second term and instead elected Diego Morales, who went on to win the general election.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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