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Braun's choice for running mate raises questions, potential issues at party convention

A posed headshot of Julie McGuire, a White woman with brunette hair. She is wearing a blue and white jacket over a white top.
Courtesy of the Braun campaign
Rep. Julie McGuire (R-Indianapolis) is perhaps best known for defeating incumbent far-right state lawmaker John Jacob in the 2022 primary.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Braun’s choice for running mate is creating questions — and potential issues — for his campaign.

Braun picked first-term Rep. Julie McGuire (R-Indianapolis), a relative newcomer to the state political scene. Indiana Legislative Insight Editor Ed Feigenbaum said Braun’s decision is an important one, considering he would be the second-oldest person ever elected Indiana governor.

“You know, one question that needs to be asked is, is somebody ready, is somebody prepared, is somebody qualified to be the governor if they are chosen to be the lieutenant governor nominee,” Feigenbaum said.

Feigenbaum noted it’s not a novelty for a first-term lawmaker to be selected — former Gov. Mike Pence chose then-Rep. Sue Ellspermann as his running mate in 2012 when she was in her first term.

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Lieutenant governor candidates are chosen by the state party convention delegates. And Republicans will have a convention fight on their hands — ultra-conservative pastor Micah Beckwith is also running for lieutenant governor.

McGuire is perhaps best known for defeating incumbent far-right lawmaker John Jacob in the 2022 primary — which Feigenbaum said raises more questions about Braun’s choice.

“The social conservatives are decidedly not happy about Braun picking her,” Feigenbaum said. “And there are some in that camp that might not have already migrated to Micah Beckwith who will be going with team Micah."

Feigenbaum said he’s also heard there could be a third candidate for lieutenant governor at the convention who hopes to be a more mainstream choice for social conservatives. Potential names Feigenbaum floated were former Indiana GOP Chair Jeff Cardwell and recent Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Doden.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.