Jim Banks, a Republican congressman and fervent supporter of former president Donald Trump, declared his candidacy for president on Tuesday. Republican Senator Mike Braun is stepping down from the Indiana Senate seat.
Since Braun announced in December that he would forego a 2024 reelection effort and instead run for governor of Indiana,
Banks is the first contender to enter the Senate race publicly.
Days before Banks’ announcement, Mitch Daniels, the former governor of Indiana, was criticized as being insufficiently conservative by Donald Trump Jr. and the anti-tax Club for Growth in Washington.
Daniels is currently debating whether or not to run for the Senate seat.
Current Senate Republicans have come under fire from Banks for working too closely with the Biden administration and allowing the approval of a massive $1.7 trillion spending plan right before Christmas.
Banks told The Associated Press, “I just believe now more than ever that we need conservatives in the Senate who are going to push back against radical Democrat plans instead of supporting them.”
“Republican primary voters are searching for a conservative fighter, someone who will go to Washington and fight for Hoosier family values and against the radical, socialist, and woke agenda that Democrats are pursuing in Washington,” said one Republican primary voter.
Asserting that “anti-Americanism” is being promoted in schools and the military and blaming China for COVID-19, Banks produced a campaign video announcement, stating that “the radical Democrats and the spineless Republicans are going to do all that they can to stop me.”
The following year, in 2016, Banks, 43, was re-elected to Congress from a strongly Republican district in northern Indiana.
He had just returned from an eight-month military assignment with the Navy Reserve in Afghanistan.
After a mob of Trump fans overran the U.S., he has been a frequent guest on Fox News Channel and a Trump ally who voted against certifying Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.
Senate on January 6, 2021. Months later, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, vetoed Republican leader Kevin McCarthy’s choice of Banks to chair the committee looking into the deadly Capitol uprising, citing the need to preserve the “integrity” of the study.
Banks supported McCarthy throughout his campaign for House speaker this month and has maintained contact with Trump, meeting with him on several occasions since he left the White House and traveling with him in 2021 to the border between the United States and Mexico.
Banks said he informed Trump of his decision to run for the Senate last week. Trump won Indiana by sizable margins in both 2016 and 2020.
I told him I’d appreciate his support and hoped he would join me in Indiana for my campaign, said Banks.
“I truly believe we need to return to the America First policies and agenda he supported while he was president. I was pleased to fight beside him for that.”