Why Republican delegates denied Braun his choice of running mate

 Why Republican Delegates Denied Braun His Choice Of Running Mate

  • The day after Braun won 40% of the votes in Indiana’s May primary and became the Indiana Republican Party’s gubernatorial nominee, he had his sights set on state Rep. Julie McGuire, R-Indianapolis, as his running mate. But Saturday, his party delegates, who have previously supported candidates’ preferred running mates, denied his request at the state convention.

    Instead, they chose “conservative firebrand” Micah Beckwith.

    Dr. Elizabeth A. Bennion, a chancellor’s professor of political science at Indiana University South Bend, says she can’t speak for the delegates, but she has some thoughts on why they may have voted for Beckwith.

    “Micah Beckwith has been traveling the state and meeting delegates for over a year courting their votes, building enthusiasm for his historic candidacy and gaining greater name recognition than state representative Julie McGuire,” Bennion said in an email to TheStatehouseFile.com. “Delegates tend to be more conservative than Republican rank-and-file voters, making an outspoken social conservative like Beckwith attractive to many delegates.”

    While she does not recall a time when delegates did not approve a candidate’s running mate, she said a recent situation could help explain the delegates’ reasoning.

    “Two years ago, delegates chose Diego Morales to be the official GOP candidate for secretary of state, rejecting Governor Holcomb’s choice,” she said. “Some delegates seem to be eager to embrace grassroots candidates and send a message to the political establishment, even and perhaps especially when the grassroots candidates are controversial.”

    Bennion believes the decision to choose Beckwith may cause problems for Braun’s campaign.

    “The party nominees for governor and lieutenant governor run as a team. The purpose of running as a ticket is to ensure that those elected will be of the same political party and governing philosophy. The fact that delegates did not vote for Braun’s chosen running mate undermines this goal and poses unique challenges for Braun’s campaign and future administration,” Bennion said.

    Past statements from Beckwith, pastor of Life Church’s Noblesville campus, are drawing renewed scrutiny.

    “Democrats are already sharing a video clip that Beckwith made on Jan. 7, in which Beckwith says that God told him that God sent the riots to Washington,” she said. “These and other controversial statements and positions that Beckwith is known for may alienate the 22% of voters who elected Nikki Haley over Donald Trump. The Democrats have already begun warning Hoosier voters that a Braun-Beckwith ticket is a racial, extremist and dangerous for the state.”

    Bennion says Braun is still likely to win, but his and Beckwith’s differing views can put a dent in Braun’s administration.

    “Braun may find himself in the difficult position of trying to distance himself from Beckwith,” she says, “without losing the support of voters who supported Beckwith’s bid for lieutenant governor and those [voters who] like or agree with the conservative firebrand.”

    FOOTNOTE: Averi Phelps is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

    The City-County Observer posted this article without opinion, bias, or editing.