Crouch says Republicans need 'different kind of candidate' in governor's race
Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch said if Republicans want to hold on to the governor’s office, they’ll need a “different kind of candidate.”
And Crouch, who announced her gubernatorial run this week, said she is that candidate.
The southern Indiana native noted that no one political party has controlled the governor's office for 20 consecutive years in the state's history – and 2024 will mark two decades of Republican governors.
If her name appears on the primary ballot, she’ll have already made history – the first woman to run for Indiana governor in a Republican primary. And if she wins the gubernatorial race, she’d be the Hoosier State’s first woman governor.
But Crouch said gender isn’t an issue in her campaign.
“For me, I don’t see myself as, you know, ‘I’m a female candidate’ or ‘I’m a female officeholder,'" Crouch said. "I am a woman; I’m proud of that. But I see myself more as someone who is trying to get things done for Hoosiers.”
Crouch said her vision for the state is improving quality of life. She said doing so builds on the existing “economic foundation” by emphasizing measures that Crouch said haven’t been focused on.
“And that would be mental illness and addiction and, of course, our public health,” Crouch said.
Both those issues are expected to be major talking points in the upcoming legislative session.
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As lieutenant governor, Crouch is inextricably tied with Gov. Eric Holcomb – who has drawn the ire of some conservatives over the past few years, particularly tied to his COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
That anger manifested itself most acutely in the 2022 Indiana Republican Party convention, where Diego Morales rode that anti-establishment wave to an upset victory over incumbent Secretary of State Holli Sullivan.
Crouch dismissed the idea that her service in the Holcomb administration will be a weight around her neck in the GOP primary – while also subtly putting some room between her and the governor.
"Like any relationship, we don't agree on everything. But I'm very respectful of the role that I'm in," Crouch said. "I have a record. And that record is conservative."
Crouch is in a GOP primary race against U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Fort Wayne businessman Eric Doden. Both those men have shown the ability to put sizable amounts of their own and family money into political campaigns. Crouch said that's something she cannot and will not do.
"If I cannot convince Hoosiers that I'm a good investment for them and for the state of Indiana, then I don't deserve to win," Crouch said.
Crouch said she'll end the year with about $3 million in her campaign account. Doden, who's been in the race since last May, has already compiled more than $2 million. And Braun has about $1 million in his U.S. Senate campaign account.
Contact reporter Brandon at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.