Beckwith wins

Republican lieutenant governor nominee Micah Beckwith poses for a selfie prior to the convention vote. (Credit: Jarred Meeks)

Jun 15, 2024

Beckwith prevails in Republican lieutenant governor race over Braun’s choice 

Pastor Micah Beckwith won his unorthodox quest for the Republican lieutenant governor nomination on Saturday as state party convention delegates chose him over gubernatorial nominee Mike Braun-endorsed state Rep. Julie McGuire.

Beckwith, the pastor of Life Church in Noblesville, scored the political upset with a 891-828 vote over McGuire.

The delegate vote was a surprising rebuke of the sitting U.S. senator a little more than a month after he handily won the Republican gubernatorial primary.

Braun congratulated Beckwith on his victory as they stood next to each other on the convention stage. McGuire did not speak to the delegates following the vote.

“Micah, even though I chose someone else to be my partner, you and I have known one another, and everything you believe in, I have as well,” Braun told delegates. “I’m a guy that knows how to get from here to there. I’ll handle it well.”

Beckwith is a favorite among hard-right Republicans and campaigned as a “conservative insurance policy” who would not be a rubber stamp for any governor.

Braun told reporters that regardless of Beckwith’s victory he was “going to be the chief executive.”

“There’s no doubt about this — I’m in charge and Micah is going to be someone that works with me,” Braun said. “If he doesn’t, I think that means that it will probably not be as fruitful in terms of what we can get done.”

Beckwith maintained his aim was to help Braun become “the most successful conservative governor in the entire United States.”

He told reporters he didn’t regard the convention vote as a blow against Braun.

“It’s the voice of the people,” Beckwith said. “I think Mike Braun, just like anybody, has to earn the trust of the people. I have to earn the trust of the people. We all have to earn the trust of the people. I don’t think it’s a rebuke. I just think it’s the Reagan principle of ‘trust but verify.’”

Braun announced McGuire as his running mate choice the day after the primary. He called the first-term Indiana House member from Indianapolis someone who would be a “partner” for his potential administration, while portraying Beckwith as more interested in being “an influencer” with a differing agenda.

Braun took the convention stage on Saturday to personally nominate McGuire and appeal for delegates to support her. “Give me the partner that I need to help take this state to the next level,” Braun said. “That’s Julie McGuire.”

McGuire and Braun both highlighted to delegates the endorsement she received this past week from Donald Trump.

Braun, who also had Trump’s backing for the gubernatorial nomination, told delegates that he personally asked Trump on Thursday to endorse McGuire.

Beckwith promoted himself ahead of the convention as a “conservative insurance policy” who won’t be a rubber stamp for any governor.

Beckwith’s campaign distributed flyers to delegates depicting McGuire as inexperienced and without any policy ideas.

But Beckwith told delegates on Saturday he would “boldly stand with Mike Braun” while also saying their decision was not a “ratification vote.”

“We need a lieutenant governor who is ready to partner with Mike Braun, a lieutenant governor who has a vision to help Hoosiers, has the passion for the job, has the backbone to take on the woke agenda and has the experience to make the difference,” Beckwith said.

Braun is the heavy favorite to extend the 20-year hold that Republicans have had on the governor’s office against Democrat Jennifer McCormick and Libertarian Donald Rainwater.

But now Braun has the complication of a running mate who has sometimes stirred controversy. 

Beckwith first gained a political following with his 2020 Republican primary run for the 5th Congressional District seat where he finished third as Victoria Spartz won the nomination and later the U.S. House seat. 

He built an appeal among conservatives through a mix of evangelical Christianity and Donald Trump-like political stances.

Beckwith launched his lieutenant governor bid in May 2023, looking to capitalize on conservative discontent with Gov. Eric Holcomb’s COVID-19 restrictions by arguing he would be an independent voice who could hold the next governor accountable.

Beckwith resigned from the Hamilton East Public Library Board in Fishers after pushing for a policy of reviewing teen section books for “age appropriateness” that drew criticism from best-selling author and Indianapolis resident John Green. Beckwith stepped down in January, saying he wanted to focus on his lieutenant governor campaign.

Beckwith also gained attention in 2021 for giving out religious exemptions to people who didn’t want to get COVID-19 vaccine shots. He says he eventually wrote exemptions for 4,500 people.

State Democratic Chairman Mike Schmuhl said Beckwith’s victory “shows how out-of-the-mainstream extremism has hijacked the current Indiana GOP.”

“Beckwith will bring the worst of the culture wars to the lieutenant governor’s office, which is usually tasked with increasing tourism and supporting agriculture,” Schmuhl said in a statement. “He is dangerous for business, dangerous for women, dangerous for families, and dangerous for Indiana’s future.”

Braun signaled willingness to separate himself from Beckwith.

“My running mate can say whatever he wants,” Braun told reporters. “If it doesn’t make sense, if it doesn’t resonate, remember, I’m going to be the governor.”

Update: This story has been updated with comments from Mike Braun and state Democratic Chairman Mike Schmuhl.

About Micah Beckwith
  • Age: 41
  • Residence: Noblesville
  • Education: Huntington University, business and economics degree
  • Family: Wife Susan and two children
  • Job: Pastor for Life Church Noblesville campus
  • Work history: Unsuccessful candidate for 2020 Republican nomination in 5th Congressional District; former member of Hamilton East Public Library Board; student ministry worship pastor at Northview Church in Carmel

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Q&A: Micah Beckwith on his unorthodox run for lieutenant governor

Braun has most at stake in convention showdown

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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