Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), a staunch ally of Donald Trump who lost a bid to be House majority whip late last year, is now training his sights on the U.S. Senate.
Banks announced a 2024 bid on Tuesday, saying the nation is “at a turning point.”
“We need conservatives in Washington who are not afraid to fight back against the radical socialist Democrats who are trying to change America,” he said in a statement accompanied by a nearly three-minute video. “I was proud to serve my country in the military, and I have been on the front lines fighting for our conservative Hoosier values in Congress. With your help, I’ll do that in an even bigger way in the United States Senate.”
Banks is seeking the GOP nomination to succeed Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), who decided to run for governor of Indiana in 2024.
“Indiana deserves a conservative fighter in the United States Senate, but the radical Democrats and the spineless Republicans are going to do everything they can to stop me,” he said.
Banks, the former chairman of the hard-right Republican Study Committee, supported a Texas lawsuit that challenged Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential victory in several states. Banks also voted against certifying Biden’s electoral college win hours after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. Banks was elected to the House in 2016.
As Republicans chose their leaders for their new majority last year, Banks lost his bid for whip to Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.). Banks also is close to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
Banks isn’t likely to have the GOP field to himself in the Republican-leaning state. Others who have expressed interest in running for the Senate seat include Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.); Indiana’s current governor, Eric Holcomb (R); and former governor Mitch Daniels (R).
The race could shape up as a split between the far-right wing and the more establishment Republicans, who are likely to favor Daniels. He served in the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.
Banks immediately got the endorsement of the anti-tax Club for Growth.
“Jim Banks is a proven conservative and a champion for economic freedom, liberty, and opportunity — we are proud to endorse his campaign for Indiana Senate,” Club for Growth PAC President David McIntosh said in a statement. “Club for Growth PAC and Club for Growth Action are prepared to spend whatever it takes to help Banks secure the nomination and victory.”
Among the other early endorsers of Banks: Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).