Racing to Represent the Hoosier State

SEMA News—May 2018

FROM THE HILL

By Eric Snyder

Racing to Represent the Hoosier State

Mike Braun of Meyer Distributing Competes in Republican Primary for U.S. Senate

  Mike Braun
Meyer Distributing President and CEO Mike Braun (center) accepted the award for the Warehouse Distributor of the Year at the 2017 SEMA Show banquet.
   

The past six months have been action-packed for Mike Braun, who is competing in a closely contested May 8 primary to be Indiana’s Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in 2018. While the days on the campaign trail can be long and arduous, that is nothing new for Braun, who knows what it’s like to put in the time needed to start and grow a business. As president and CEO of Meyer Distributing, which was named Warehouse Distributor of the Year at the 2017 SEMA Show, he knows a thing or two about what it takes to win. The same is true when it comes to his political acumen, as Braun was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 2014 and 2016.

As a native Hoosier, Braun graduated in 1972 from Jasper High School in Jasper, Indiana. It was there that he had his first foray into politics, serving as senior class president. He went on to Wabash College, where he graduated summa cum laude with an economics degree and served as president of the student body. In 1976, he married his high-school sweetheart, Maureen, and enrolled in Harvard Business School. After earning a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard in 1978, Braun took a different path from many of his classmates by choosing to move back to Indiana to start his career.

In 1979, he co-founded Crystal Farms Inc., which became one of the largest turkey operations in the Midwest. Just two years later, he started working for Meyer Body Co. and transitioned its business from manufacturing to distribution, forming Meyer Distributing. Over the following decades, Braun grew it into a national distribution and logistics company with 65 locations in 38 states.

While Braun is an automotive enthusiast, he is also a man of many hobbies. In his spare time, he enjoys hunting and fishing, riding ATVs, and forestry-related activities, including tree planting and timber-stand improvement.

Meyer
Automotive aftermarket business leader Mike Braun has thrown his hat into Indiana’s U.S. Senate primary.
 
   

In addition to his success in the aftermarket and passion for the automotive performance hobby, Braun has shown a steadfast commitment to helping in his community. As a former high-school football and basketball player, he has used his experience on the field to coach youth sports. Braun also brought the real-world perspective of an entrepreneur to government, serving on the Jasper School Board from 2004–2014 and in the Indiana House of Representatives from 2015 through 2017.

By stepping down from the state legislature to run for U.S. Senate, Braun has proven that he’s not afraid to go all in. Given the importance of the decisions being made in our nation’s capital, Braun believes that Washington needs people with experience in the private sector now more than ever.

“I built a successful national company here in my hometown of Jasper, and it’s time we had some Hoosier knowhow in the Senate, rather than more career politicians,” Braun said.

With the primary coming down the stretch, Braun is competing against two current members of the U.S. House of Representatives—Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) and Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN)—to be Indiana’s Republican nominee for U.S. Senate. Rep. Messer represents the people of Indiana’s 6th Congressional District, which is located to the east of Indianapolis and borders both Ohio and Kentucky. Now in his third term, Messer previously served as an Indiana State Legislator (2003–2006), was president and CEO of a non-profit organization, and was a partner at two law firms. Rep. Rokita is a four-term congressman from Indiana’s 4th District, which spans from west of Indianapolis to the Illinois border. Rokita previously served two terms as Indiana Secretary of State from 2003 to 2011.

The winner of the Republican primary will face off against U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) in the general election on November 6, 2018. Sen. Donnelly represented Indiana’s 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives for three terms before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012. Prior to serving in Congress, Donnelly practiced law and then ran Marking Solutions, a printing and rubber-stamp company.

While both Republicans and Democrats have won recent statewide races in Indiana, the past few elections have swung in favor of the GOP. In 2016, President Donald Trump carried the Hoosier state by 19%, while then-U.S. Representative Todd Young (R-IN) defeated former U.S. Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) by a margin of 52.1% to 42.4% in the Senate race. Republican Mitt Romney carried the Hoosier State by 10% over President Barack Obama in 2012, although Donnelly defeated Republican candidate Richard Mourdock by 6% in the Senate race. Going into 2012, the political class believed that U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) was a lock to retain the seat, but Murdock defeated the six-term Senator in the primary.

Who will emerge victorious in 2018? That’s anyone’s guess. Whether you’re an Indiana voter or registered somewhere else, please take the time to learn about the candidates and see which ones support the automotive aftermarket and the people who make it possible. You can also register to vote by visiting www.semasan.com/semavotes.

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