|United States Senator|
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2019
Serving with Todd Young
|Preceded by||Joe Donnelly|
|Member of the Indiana House of Representatives|
from the 63rd district
November 5, 2014 – November 1, 2017
|Preceded by||Mark Messmer|
|Succeeded by||Shane Lindauer|
|Born||March 24, 1954|
Jasper, Indiana, U.S.
|Political party||Republican (2012–present)|
|Democratic (before 2012)|
|Relatives||Steve Braun (brother)|
|Education||Wabash College (BA)|
Harvard University (MBA)
Michael K. Braun (//; born March 24, 1954) is an American businessman and politician serving as the junior United States senator from Indiana since 2019. A member of the Republican Party, he previously represented the 63rd district in the Indiana House of Representatives from 2014 to 2017. Braun was elected to the United States Senate in 2018, defeating Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly.
Braun opposes the Affordable Care Act, same-sex marriage, abortion, and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. He describes himself as a "conservationist" who has called on the Republican Party to take climate change more seriously, but is ranked very poorly by environmental groups, and supported the United States' withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords. He supported President Donald Trump's trade and tariff policies despite having previously been a free trade advocate, and was a staunch ally of Trump throughout his presidency. Braun voted to acquit Trump in the impeachment trial related to the Trump-Ukraine scandal. After Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election and Trump refused to concede, making false claims of fraud, Braun defended Trump's efforts to overturn the election results.
Braun also criticized the Supreme Court's decision ruling interracial marriage bans unconstitutional, but later said he had been confused by the question he was asked, and that the Constitution prohibits racial discrimination. In 2022, it was reported that Braun is likely to run for governor of Indiana in 2024 instead of for reelection to the Senate.
Early life, education and business career
Braun was born in Jasper, Indiana, on March 24, 1954. He graduated from Jasper High School. Braun was a three-sport star athlete; he married his high school sweetheart, Maureen, who was a cheerleader. 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.
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. In 1986 Braun and Daryl Rauscher acquired Meyer Body Inc., a manufacturer of truck bodies and distributor of truck parts and equipment. In 1995 Braun fully acquired the company. Meyer Body was renamed Meyer Distributing in 1999. Braun is its president and CEO. In 2018 Braun's personal finance disclosure listed assets worth between $35 million and $96 million.
Early political career
He served in the Indiana House of Representatives for Indiana District 63 from 2014 to 2017. Braun resigned from the state House on November 1, 2017, to focus on his U.S. Senate campaign. In 2017, the American Conservative Union gave him a lifetime score of 82%.
Braun won the Republican primary for the United States Senate in the 2018 election, defeating U.S. Representatives Todd Rokita and Luke Messer by over 56,000 votes. He received 208,520 votes, or roughly 41% of the total. Braun ran as an outsider, emphasizing his career in business. He defeated Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly in the November general election with 51% of the vote to Donnelly's 45%; the Libertarian candidate, Lucy Brenton, tallied less than 4%. 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. 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.
In May 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.
Braun supported Trump's decision to withdraw American troops from northern Syria in October 2019. 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"; questioned why the U.S. should "be in the crossfire" between Turkey and the Kurds; and called the idea that ISIS would recover strength as a result of the conflict "an assumption".
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.
After Joe Biden defeated Trump in the November 2020 election, Braun refused to acknowledge Trump's defeat and promoted Trump's false claims of election fraud. Along with 10 other sitting and incoming Republican senators, Braun announced on January 2, 2021, that he would vote against counting the electoral votes from a number of states won by Biden four days later, seeking to subvert the election outcome. He was participating in the joint session of Congress counting the electoral votes when a mob of Trump supporters attacked 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 count the electoral votes after Congress returned to session. The South Bend Tribune called Braun's flip-flop "a case of too little, too late." The Democratic Party of Indiana called for Braun's resignation, saying he "incited violence to overturn the presidential election and end American democracy."
- Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
- Committee on Appropriations
- Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Legislative Branch (Ranking)
- Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
- Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
- Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety (Ranking)
- Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security
- Committee on the Budget
- Special Committee on Aging
Braun has said that the Supreme Court of the United States was wrong in its ruling that state interracial marriage bans were unconstitutional. Braun later stated that he was not paying attention to the question and that the Constitution prohibits discrimination of any kind based on race.
During Trump's first impeachment and impeachment trial, regarding the Trump–Ukraine scandal, Braun became one of Trump's most prominent defenders, defending him in many media appearances. He voted to acquit Trump, and when asked whether it is acceptable for Trump to withhold U.S. 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." Braun also said that Trump did what he did out of a desire to reduce corruption in Ukraine. After Trump was acquitted, Braun said that Trump "hopefully" learned something from the trial.
Effort to overturn 2020 presidential election result
After Biden won the 2020 presidential election, Trump refused to concede and made baseless claims of election fraud. Braun defended, and joined in, Trump's attempt to overturn the election results and subvert the democratic process. He wrote a Washington Examiner editorial criticizing the media for not taking accusations of voter fraud seriously. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud or irregularities in the 2020 election. Along with 10 other Republican senators, Braun initially pledged to object to the counting of the electoral votes in several key states. After the storming of the Capitol by a violent pro-Trump mob, Braun reversed himself and voted against objections to the election results, saying that he "didn't feel comfortable with today's events."
On May 28, 2021, Braun abstained from voting on the creation of an independent commission to investigate the January 6 storming of the Capitol.
Braun supported the Republican Party's tax legislation in 2017. He said the tax reform bill was "revenue-neutral"; the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill would increase U.S. debt. Braun has called for cuts to the U.S. budget, saying that the U.S. "has a spending problem."
Braun is a self-described conservationist. He has called Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg an "inspiration" and advocated that the Republican Party be more aggressive in combating climate change. He opposed the 2015 Paris climate change agreement, but supports using reforestation, carbon pricing, and carbon capture to reduce or mitigate carbon dioxide emissions. He also serves as the chair of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, which was founded in October 2019. 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.
Braun opposes the Affordable Care Act, supports efforts to repeal it, and supports a lawsuit to strike down the entirety of the ACA. Braun has called for "free-market competition" and "market-driven" solutions on health care. During his 2018 Senate campaign, he criticized incumbent Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly as a "defender of Obamacare." Braun expressed support for keeping in place protections for individuals with preexisting conditions (a popular provision of the ACA), although both House repeal efforts supported by Braun and the lawsuit supported by Braun would effectively end protections for individuals with preexisting conditions.
Braun has said, "building the wall must be the first step to any solution" on illegal immigration. He opposes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as minors, known as DREAMers.
Asked for his view on the legalization of same-sex marriage, Braun said, "I believe in traditional marriage." He fought to keep marriage defined as "between a man and a woman" in the Indiana Republican Party platform. 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.
In June 2020, after the murder of George Floyd, Braun introduced legislation to reform qualified immunity, a legal doctrine that shields police officers from lawsuits over constitutional violations if the violated constitutional right has not been clearly established in a previous court decision. His legislation would have made it easier to sue police officers for rights violations. But after an interview with Tucker Carlson and backlash from police unions the next month, Braun dropped his bill. In May 2021, he wrote, "I oppose any reform to the current doctrine of qualified immunity" and opposed federal efforts to reform local police departments.
In September 2021, Braun opposed the planned COVID-19 vaccine mandate for companies with more than 100 employees, calling it as the "biggest overreach by federal government I’ve seen." In October 2021, he invited Chicago police officers who were suspended for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to work in Indiana, saying, "plenty of departments are hiring now."
|Democratic||Joe Donnelly (incumbent)||1,023,553||44.84%||-5.20%|
|Republican gain from Democratic|
- 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.
- "Indiana Candidate's Statement of Organization" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 26, 2018. Retrieved December 25, 2018.
- "2018 Election Results, News, Candidates & Polls". NBC News. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
- U.S. Sen. Mike Braun: SCOTUS should leave abortion, interracial marriage to states, by Brandon Smith, at WVPE; published March 22, 2022; retrieved March 22, 2022
- Metzger, Bryan. "Sen. Mike Braun claims he said interracial marriage should be decided by the states because he was focused on abortion and transgender women in sports". Business Insider. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
- Everett, Burgess; Levine, Marianne; Beavers, Olivia (September 22, 2022). "Mike Braun likely running for Indiana governor in 2024". POLITICO. Retrieved September 23, 2022.
- Gonzales, Nathan (December 1, 2017). "Candidate Conversation - Mike Braun (R)". Inside Elections. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
- Neal, Candy (August 2, 2017). "Jasper's Braun launching bid for U.S. Senate". Dubois County Herald. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
- King, Robert. "Indiana Senate Race 2018: Mike Braun is the candidate with business credentials". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
- "Mike Braun For Senate – A Business Leader & Small Business Champion". NFIB. October 17, 2018. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
- "Timeline". Meyerdistributing.com. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
- "Meyer Distributing named Warehouse Distributor of the Year". Dubois County Free Press. November 4, 2017. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
- Erdody, Lindsey (May 24, 2018). "U.S. Sen. candidate Mike Braun's assets worth $35M to $96M". Indianapolis Business Journal. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
- "Braun seeks second term as state representative". Washington Times Herald. February 2, 2016. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
- "Jasper School Board appoints officers and welcomes new member". January 5, 2015.
- Neal, Candy (October 31, 2017). "Lindauer replaces Braun as state representative". Dubois County Herald. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
- American Conservative Union Foundation. "2017 Ratings of Indiana" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 21, 2021. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
- "Senate candidate Mike Braun calls for Indiana AG to resign". WNDU. Associated Press. July 10, 2018. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
- Grant, Mike (August 2, 2017). "Braun set for U.S. Senate run". Washington Times-Herald. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
- "Wealthy state lawmaker joins GOP's Indiana Senate race". The Washington Post. Associated Press. August 8, 2017. Archived from the original on August 8, 2017. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
- "GOP nominee who rails against outsourcing has brand that markets Chinese parts: AP". CBS News. August 10, 2018. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
- Sikich, Chris; Kwiatkowski, Marisa; Evans, Tim (November 6, 2018). "Republican Mike Braun unseats incumbent Democrat Joe Donnelly in Indiana Senate race". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
- "Indiana Election Results". The New York Times. November 9, 2018. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
- Cook, Tony. "Rudy Giuliani's indicted associates attended Indiana GOP event that promoted Braun, others". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
- "Mike Braun sworn in as a U.S. Senator". C-SPAN. January 3, 2019. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
- "Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana votes against $19.1 billion disaster relief aid bill". WTHR-TV. May 24, 2019. Retrieved January 6, 2020.
- "Braun backs Trump on Syrian pullout". Tribune-Star. October 7, 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
- "Republican senators both blast and praise Trump's Syria policy". CNN. October 15, 2019. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
- "Senator Mike Braun: Impeachment Inquiry Has Been a Disaster for Democrats". 93.1 FM WIBC. December 10, 2019. Retrieved January 6, 2020.
- Stobbe, Mike; Dearen, Jason (May 13, 2020). "AP Exclusive: CDC guidance more restrictive than White House". Associated Press. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
- Pinsker, Adam (October 20, 2020). "Braun Urges Senate Colleagues To Confirm Coney-Barrett". Indiana Public Media. Retrieved November 13, 2020.
- Benbrook, Julia (October 26, 2020). "Indiana Senator Mike Braun reacts to confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett". WBND-LD. Retrieved November 13, 2020.
- Meg Cunningham, Despite mounting legal losses, Braun refuses to acknowledge Biden's election win, ABC News (December 6, 2020).
- Lawrence Andrea & Kaitlin Lange, Braun joins other senate Republicans in vow to oppose election results when Congress convenes, Indianapolis Star (January 2, 2021).
- Lisa Mascaro & Mary Clare Jalonick, More GOP lawmakers enlist in Trump effort to undo Biden win, Associated Press (January 2, 2021).
- "Indiana Senator Braun dropped Biden objection after Capitol mob". Chesterton Tribune. Associated Press. January 8, 2021. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
- "Our Opinion: Too little, too late from Indiana representatives". South Bend Tribune. January 8, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
- "Indiana Democratic Party calls for resignation of Sen. Braun". Eyewitness News (WEHT/WTVW). January 7, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
- "U.S. Senate: Committee Assignments of the 114th Congress". Archived from the original on February 18, 2017. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
- Sikich, Chris; Alesia, Mark; Briggs, James; Hays, Holly V.; Rudavsky, Shari. "Where U.S. Senate candidate Mike Braun stands on health care, tariffs and other issues". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
- Braun, Mike. ""After 50 years, the right to life has finally been returned to the people and their elected representatives. I'm excited to see the states take the lead to protect the unborn, and I look forward to crafting solutions that will defend the unborn and save lives."". Twitter. Retrieved June 24, 2022.
- Bycoffe, Aaron (January 30, 2017). "Tracking Congress in the Age of Trump: Mike Braun". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved April 30, 2021.
- Heather Caygle & Sarah Ferris (February 5, 2020). "Indiana's freshman senator steps up to the impeachment mics". Politico.
Sen. Mike Braun quickly vaulted from a self-described 'no name' to one of President Donald Trump’s most prominent and prolific defenders during the Senate’s impeachment trial. ... Just over a year into his term, Braun has become a prominent GOP voice on impeachment, joking that he spends more time on TV than probably any Republican senator beside Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of Trump’s closest allies.
- Holmes, Jack (January 23, 2020). "Republican Senators Are Going Full Gaslight on Impeachment, Which Is Kind of a Concern". Esquire. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
- Baird, Addy; Goba, Kadia; McLeod, Paul (January 31, 2020). "Republicans Now Say Trump Did What He Was Accused Of — They Just Don't Care". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
- O’Brien, Connor (January 26, 2020). "GOP senator: 'Hopefully' Trump will learn lessons from impeachment". POLITICO. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
- Smith, Allan (January 26, 2020). "GOP senator: Impeachment should encourage Trump to be more 'careful' next time". NBC News. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
- Mascaro, Lisa; Jalonick, Mary Clare (January 2, 2021). "More GOP lawmakers enlist in Trump effort to undo Biden win". Associated Press.
- Sikich, Chris. "Indiana Sen. Mike Braun criticizes media for failing to investigate voter fraud". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
- Paul LeBlanc and Alex Marquardt (November 13, 2020). "Election officials contradict Trump's voter-fraud conspiracy theories". CNN. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
- Evan Perez and Devan Cole. "Barr says no evidence of widespread fraud in presidential election". CNN. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
- Lawrence Andrea. "Braun reverses course, votes against objection to election results". Indianapolis Star.
- Cai, Weiyi; Daniel, Annie; Huang, Jon; Lee, Jasmine C.; Parlapiano, Alicia (February 13, 2021). "Trump's Second Impeachment: How the Senate Voted". The New York Times.
- "Which senators supported a Jan. 6 Capitol riot commission". Washington Post. May 28, 2021.
- 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.
- Tsirkin, Julie (October 23, 2019). "Senators launch bipartisan climate change initiative". NBC News. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
- "How the Green New Deal lit a fire under the GOP". October 14, 2020.
- "Check out Senator Mike Braun's Environmental Voting Record". League of Conservation Voters Scorecard. February 17, 2021. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
- Alesia, Mark. "How Trump's tariffs, trade policy create tricky terrain for Mike Braun and Joe Donnelly". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
- Everett, Burgess (August 17, 2018). "GOP's midterm peril: What if they win on killing Obamacare?". POLITICO. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
- Tobias, Manuela (August 20, 2018). "Did Mike Braun endorse three initiatives to end coverage for pre-existing conditions?". Politifact. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
- Hays, Holly V. "Indiana Senate race: Braun and Donnelly both want a border wall, but differ on Dreamers". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
- 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.
- "A Senate Republican Has Officially Come Out Against Qualified Immunity". June 23, 2020.
- Payton Knobeloch, Sen. Braun Halts Qualified Immunity Bill Amid Fox News Interview, Police Union Backlash, WFYI (July 2, 2020).
- Mike Braun, The federal government should not reform local police departments, Indianapolis Star (May 13, 2021).
- Moore, Corinne (September 22, 2021). "Sen. Braun: vaccine mandate is 'biggest overreach by federal government I've seen'". WANE. Retrieved October 23, 2021.
- Lee, Tommie (October 21, 2021). "Sen. Braun welcomes Chicago cops who take issue with city COVID regulations to work in Indiana". 953MNC. Retrieved October 23, 2021.
- "Indiana Election Results". in.gov/sos/elections/index.htm.
- "IN Senate -R Primary". ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
- "IN State House 063". ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
- "IN State House 063 - R Primary". ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
- "IN State House 063". ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
- "Michael Braun". Indiana Legislator Database. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
- Pathé, Simone (April 11, 2018). "Indiana's Braun Brothers Keep Their Distance on the Campaign Trail". Roll Call. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
- Official U.S. Senate website
- Official website campaign site
- Mike Braun at Curlie
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Appearances on C-SPAN