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Republican candidates argue over 'outsider' status in Indiana governor's race

A collage of five Indiana gubernatorial candidates holding microphones.
Brandon Smith
Five of the six Republicans who will appear on Indiana's gubernatorial primary ballot took part in a debate that featured a question about whether any of them could claim to be political outsiders.

Indiana Republican candidates for governor are sparring with each other in bids to claim “outsider” status in the race.

The five candidates who appeared on the debate stage Wednesday night have all spent time in government.

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch has spent most of her career in elected office. U.S. Sen. Mike Braun has been in elected office for over a decade. Eric Doden and Brad Chambers each led the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. And Curtis Hill was a longtime prosecutor before serving as state attorney general.

Crouch was asked how anyone in the race could claim they’re an outsider.

“I don’t know,” Crouch said, prompting laughter from the audience. “But you know, I’m proud of my public service.”

Braun said he’s the true outsider because he ran a business for decades — and because he’s been endorsed by the person he calls the ultimate political outsider, Donald Trump.

“He is the guy that broke the system at the federal level and now the system is trying to take him out,” Braun said. “So, if you want to know who the outsider is, that’s very clear — and I represent that here.”

READ MORE: Majority of GOP gubernatorial candidates in latest debate oppose new reading retention law

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Hill challenged Braun on that position.

“Mike Braun says he’s an outsider because he worked for 37 years,” Hill said. “No, you’re not, Mike. You’ve been in the system long enough.”

Chambers increasingly tried to tie himself to a former Republican governor.

“My point of view is that someone needs to be the CEO of a state, coming from outside in — like Mitch Daniels in 2005,” Chambers said.

Doden said he’s not focused on trying to be an outsider.

“I’m focused on being a leader and a visionary,” Doden said.

The only person in the race who’s never served in government or run for office, Jamie Reitenour, was excluded from the debate.

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

Copyright 2024 IPB News.

Brandon Smith

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