Mike Braun wins Indiana GOP governor nod, with Jim Banks lined up to succeed him in the Senate

Republican Sen. Mike Braun won the Republican nomination for governor of Indiana, NBC News projects, making him the favorite to succeed term-limited Gov. Eric Holcomb as Rep. Jim Banks secured the GOP nomination to succeed Braun in the Senate.

And in the House, NBC News projects Rep. Victoria Spartz saw off a Republican primary challenger for her seat, leading a slate of interesting congressional fights on the GOP side.

Braun jumped into the governor’s race as the favorite, despite a crowded field that included former state Commerce Secretary Brad Chambers, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and businessman Eric Doden. After he won former President Donald Trump’s endorsement last fall, he had appeared to be the front-runner, but the large group of candidates and massive television spending injected uncertainty into the contest.

Both Chambers and Doden outspent Braun on the airwaves — candidates and outside groups spent more than $45 million on ads, according to the ad tracking firm AdImpact. In some of the most recent ads, Braun and his allies aired a healthy slate of spots highlighting his Trump endorsement, Chambers tried to frame himself as an outsider, Doden criticized Braun as a creature of Washington, and Crouch emphasized her push to help save funding for disabled children.

And the race got messy — Braun and Doden got into a spat over support for police and the Black Lives Matter protests, and candidates got into a back-and-forth over how they’d stand up to China.

Holcomb, the outgoing governor, posted messages on X (formally known as Twitter) warning candidates that “you won’t be able to rely on slogans or empty campaign promises to yield positive results.” (Holcomb didn’t back a successor.)

Eric Holcomb. (Ting Shen / Bloomberg via Getty Images file)Eric Holcomb. (Ting Shen / Bloomberg via Getty Images file)

Eric Holcomb. (Ting Shen / Bloomberg via Getty Images file)

Meanwhile, with Braun leaving his Senate seat open to pursue the governorship, Banks won the GOP primary to succeed him unopposed.

Banks was endorsed by Trump and a whole host of his would-be Senate Republican peers. He had been in the middle of a primary against wealthy businessman John Rust. But Rust was kicked off the ballot because of his party affiliation, leaving Banks alone on the Republican ballot.

He’ll be a favorite in November against psychologist Valerie McCray, the Democratic nominee in a state that hasn’t elected a Democratic senator in more than a decade. Braun is expected to face Democrat Jennifer McCormick, a former Republican who previously was the state’s schools chief. The Republican will be favored in a state hasn’t elected a Democratic governor in more than 20 years.

House primaries

Competitive GOP primaries are also underway in House districts across the state.

Spartz overcame multiple primary challengers Tuesday, winning the Republican nomination as she seeks a third term representing the 5th District outside Indianapolis.

She faced multiple challengers after she initially planned to retire but reversed course shortly before the state’s filing deadline. Her main rival was state Rep. Chuck Goodrich, who self-funded his campaign.

The race was an early test of how support for Ukraine, where Spartz was born, is affecting GOP primaries. Goodrich blanketed the airwaves with ads attacking Spartz in part for her support for aid for Ukraine, claiming she didn’t sufficiently support Trump’s “America first” agenda. Spartz’s position, though, was more nuanced, as she opposed the most recent aid package and has sharply criticized Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

In the 8th District, state Sen. Mark Messmer won a crowded GOP primary to replace retiring GOP Rep. Larry Bucshon. Messmer defeated GOP former Rep. John Hostettler in the race, who was looking to return to Congress nearly 20 years since leaving office.

The race became a battle over support for Israel, with two pro-Israel groups, the Republican Jewish Coalition and the United Democracy Project, a super PAC tied to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, jumping into the race to oppose Hostettler. They cited his past opposition aid to Israel and his vote in October 2000 against a resolution voicing support for Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians.

The Republican Jewish Coalition instead backed Messmer, who also got a boost on the airwaves from another allied super PAC. Messmer’s victory in the GOP means he’s likely to head to Congress, given the district’s Republican lean.

And in the 6th District, Indianapolis City Council member Jefferson Shreve defeated a crowded field of GOP hopefuls, including multiple self-funders, to win the Republican primary to replace retiring GOP Rep. Greg Pence. Shreve is expected to carry the ruby red district in November.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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