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Braun LG pick Julie McGuire fends off ‘establishment’ skepticism

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Braun LG pick Julie McGuire fends off ‘establishment’ skepticism

Jun 11, 2024 | 6:00 am ET
By Leslie Bonilla Muñiz
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Braun LG pick Julie McGuire fends off ‘establishment’ skepticism
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Rep. Julie McGuire, Republican gubernatorial nominee Mike Braun's choice for lieutenant governor, meets with delegates at an event in Lafayette. (Photo courtesy Based in Lafayette)

Indiana Rep. Julie McGuire doesn’t think her status as Republican gubernatorial nominee Mike Braun’s handpicked running-mate should dissuade anti-establishment delegates from nominating her for lieutenant governor.

“I don’t really see Mike as an establishment guy, for one. … I don’t see myself as (establishment) as well,” McGuire told the Capital Chronicle on Monday.

“I’m just coming from a conservative point of view,” said the first-term lawmaker, who represents parts of Indianapolis.

On Saturday, about 1,800 Republican party insiders will choose who’s on the ballot for Indiana’s second-highest office. They’re delegates who will see their first competitive lieutenant governor contest in decades.

Their choices are pastor-influencer Micah Beckwith — who’s been on the campaign trail for a year since launching an unusually public bid — and McGuire, who’s been on the road for the month since her post-primary campaign launch.

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Delegates traditionally lean more conservative than Republican general election and even primary election voters. And they haven’t always fallen in line with party leadership.

Since launching her campaign, McGuire’s kept busy.

“I’m calling all the delegates. I’m traveling,” she said. “We’ve been in Fort Wayne, South Bend, Evansville. We’ve been across the state and working hard. Again, (I’ve) just dedicated all my time to this.”

And she’s feeling confident.

“When I have those conversations, I feel strongly 90% of those (delegates) are coming my way, especially after people get to know me a little bit and know what I stand for,” McGuire said.

“I have a strong conservative voting record that I’m proud of, for the last two years, (and I’m) supported, endorsed by all the groups that are important to our grassroots movement,” she later added. “I have over 150 endorsements from local elected officials across the state — people that are the closest to the delegates, people that they know and that they trust.”

Competing for the nomination

Where Beckwith’s campaign began as a rebuke of several pandemic-era moves from term-limited GOP Gov. Eric Holcomb, McGuire got the call — an offer to become Braun’s running-mate — in mid-April.

“It was nerve-wracking, to say the least, to change the entire trajectory of where you were headed,” McGuire said. She and her husband spent time talking and praying about the decision, and visiting Braun in his hometown of Jasper.

She said Braun was “looking for a partner in a way that really is going to be a little different, I think, than in recent years: a partner to drive the legislation and to drive the agenda.”

Race for GOP lieutenant governor nomination nears finish line

McGuire, a self-described policy wonk, highlighted her interest in vouchers and other educational issues; career pathways for high school students, affordable health care and “supporting our public safety officers.”

While she has been in office just two years, beginning in 2022, she spent the two years prior as a policy analyst for the Indiana Senate. Previously, McGuire worked more than 15 years as the parish business manager for St. Roch Catholic Church.

She’s authored one bill that became law: House Enrolled Act 1369, which strengthened Indiana child molesting and rape laws related to child abuse and neglect cases. McGuire was also the original author on legislation that would’ve repealed a special downtown Indianapolis taxing district, but removed herself after negotiations spared the district.

Beckwith, meanwhile, is a pastor at Life Church’s Noblesville campus and co-hosts a podcast called “Jesus, Sex and Politics” with another pastor. He also operates a music school and remains involved in his family’s dairy company.

In an interview last month, Beckwith highlighted his leadership, business and agricultural experience as assets McGuire “doesn’t have.” And he argued that, after five years of policy work with the Indiana Family Institute, he’s also got the legislative chops.

He has promised to “lead the effort” to lower taxes for some seniors, veterans, farmers and more in a series of news releases.

The lieutenant governor position is the state’s second-highest spot and has an additional 26 statutory roles, alongside other duties.