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COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. — A Hoosier lawmaker is throwing their hat into the ring for Indiana’s Senate campaign come 2024.

Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN-3rd) announced this morning that he intends to run for U.S. Senate. Banks is the first candidate to formally announce a campaign for the Senate seat being left behind by current Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN).

Braun plans to step aside from the Senate to run for governor of Indiana.

“Indiana deserves a conservative fighter in the United States Senate,” Banks said in an emailed release. “But the radical Democrats and the spineless Republicans are going to do everything that they can to stop me.”

Banks, 43, has been among the more outspoken Republicans in the U.S. House and an ardent supporter of President Trump.  He was re-elected in November after defeating Democrat Gary Snyder and independent Nathan Gotsch.

Banks also backed Kevin McCarthy through each of the 15 votes taken last week in choosing a House Speaker.

“I look forward to meeting with as many of you as possible in the coming months on the campaign trail, hearing about what matters most to you, and how we can effectively protect our American way of life for our daughters, sons, and future generations,” Banks added.

Banks was first elected to Congress back in 2016 from the heavily Republican 3rd congressional district in northeastern Indiana. It was the year after he returned from an eight-month military deployment to Afghanistan with the Navy Reserve.

Banks also served as an Indiana state senator from northern Indiana while from 2010 to 2016 while also serving in the military.

Indiana Democrats responded to Banks’ announcement in an emailed statement:

“Jim Banks failed in his bid to become the Majority Whip for the U.S. House so now he sees the U.S. Senate as a new prize for more political power. Hoosiers shouldn’t be surprised by Banks’s brazen calculation, because he cares more about the Tucker Carlson national cable news circuit than creating a better future for the Hoosier State.”