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Indiana Republican Party endorses Jim Banks for U.S. Senate

Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., right, speaks as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., listens during a news conference on the House Jan. 6 Committee, on June 9, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Indiana Republican Party and party chairman Kyle Hupfer have endorsed Jim Banks' campaign for U.S Senate. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana Republican Party is putting its support behind Congressman Jim Banks in his campaign for U.S. Senate.

Indiana GOP Chairman Kyle Hupfer announced the endorsement Thursday night at the annual state party dinner in Indianapolis.

It’s the first time the state party has made an endorsement of an open-seat candidate before primary elections.

“As this process has unfolded, it has become clear that Congressman Banks is the conservative choice. Throughout his career of public service, he has fought for our shared conservative Hoosier values,” Hupfer said. “We look forward to him taking that fight to the U.S. Senate as Indiana’s next U.S. Senator.”

Banks, who currently represents Indiana’s Third Congressional District, said Thursday that he’s “proud” to have Hupfer’s and the party’s endorsement.

“Indiana is a conservative state that deserves a conservative Senator, and I look forward to continuing to make my case to Hoosiers across the state that I am a conservative voice they can trust with a consistent track record of getting things done.”

With the endorsement of Hupfer and the Indiana GOP, Banks can now receive support and endorsement from the Republican National Committee.

Since announcing his Senate campaign in January, Banks has received more than 320 endorsements, including an endorsement from former President Donald Trump.

Banks is running to replace outgoing Republican Sen. Mike Braun, who in December launched his bid for governor.

The congressman is expected to face several challengers in the May 2024 primary, including John Rust, the board chairman for major egg farm Rose Acre Farms, and Wayne Harmon, the 2018 GOP nominee for Indiana’s 7th Congressional District.

Democrat candidates for Braun’s Senate seat include Indianapolis City-County Councilor Keith Potts and former state lawmaker Marc Carmichael.

The race to replace Banks in Congress is already heating up, with State Sen. Andy Zay of Huntington and Allen County Judge Wendy Davis announcing their campaigns earlier this year.

All candidates will have to collect enough signatures to make the ballot.

The 2024 primary election is on May 7, 2024, with the general election on November 5.