Republican candidates for governor meeting in 2 televised debates this week

The Republican gubernatorial candidates present their arguments to Hoosiers at the Palladium on March 11, 2024. (Credit: Brian Howey)

Mar 25, 2024

Indiana voters will have two chances this week to see Republican candidates for governor in televised debates.

Those debates Tuesday night and Wednesday night come as early in-person voting starts April 9 ahead of the May 7 primary that will decide the Republican nominee in the race to succeed GOP Gov. Eric Holcomb, who can’t seek reelection because of term limits.

Tuesday night’s debate

The first televised debate is set for 7-8 p.m. EDT Tuesday and is organized by WXIN/WTTV in Indianapolis.

Four of the six Republican candidates are scheduled to participate — U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, former state Commerce Secretary Brad Chambers, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, and Fort Wayne businessman Eric Doden.

The two other candidates on the Republican primary ballot — former state Attorney General Curtis Hill and conservative activist Jamie Reitenour — were not invited because they did not meet the 5% support level in a recent poll set by Nexstar, the owner of the two stations. 

That decision to leave Hill and Reitenour out has led to some protest, including a call from Crouch for all candidates to be invited to all debates.

How to watch: The debate will be broadcast on Fox59 (WXIN-TV) and CBS4 (WTTV-TV) in Indianapolis and streamed on their websites.

It is also scheduled to be available on the following stations:

  • WANE-TV of Fort Wayne
  • WAWV-TV of Terre Haute
  • WEHT-TV of Evansville
  • WBND-TV of South Bend
  • WLFI-TV of Lafayette
  • WDRB-TV of Louisville, Kentucky

Wednesday night’s debate

The next debate will be 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday and broadcast by WISH-TV of Indianapolis and livestreamed on the station’s website. The debate will take place at the Madam Walker Legacy Center in downtown Indianapolis.

Braun, Chambers, Crouch, Doden and Hill have been invited to take part in this debate. The station didn’t invite Reitenour, saying she did not meet fundraising criteria set for debate participants.

April 23 debate

The nonprofit Indiana Debate Commission has invited all six Republican candidates to participate in an April 23 debate before an audience at Hine Hall Auditorium on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus. 

It is scheduled for 7-8:30 p.m. and will be offered to television and radio stations around the state for broadcast.

Then what?

The winner of the Republican primary will try to extend the party’s 20-year hold on the governor’s office in the November election.

That candidate will face Democrat Jennifer McCormick, who is unopposed in the primary, and Libertarian Donald Rainwater, who won the party’s nomination at its state convention earlier this month.

Tom Davies is a Statehouse reporter for State Affairs Pro Indiana. Reach him at [email protected] or on X at @TomDaviesIND.

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