Braun brothers both facing questions about voting history ahead of 2018 primary

INDIANAPOLIS – Just days after GOP Senate candidate Mike Braun’s campaign dealt with reports about his voting record in Democratic primaries, there are now revelations about the voting history of Braun’s brother, who is also running for federal office.

Steve Braun is running as a Republican in the 4th congressional district, but voting records FOX59 obtained from Boone County show Braun voted as a Democrat in the 2008 Indiana primary.

Records show Braun only began voting in Republican primaries in 2012, when he was on the ballot for the first time running for State Representative, an office he held until he was appointed commissioner of the Department of Workforce Development.

Braun voted in Republican primaries in Boone County in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

The historic 2008 primary led to near-record turnout in Indiana, with many Republicans “crossing over” to vote in the Democratic primary to choose between candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

In fact, at the time, conservatives like Rush Limbaugh were encouraging Republicans to choose a Democratic ballot to “create chaos” and extend the already bitterly divided primary process, a motivation that likely drove Braun’s decision to vote in the Democratic primary that year, according to someone familiar with his thinking at the time.

“Steve is a dedicated Republican with a long track record of conservative accomplishments like cutting taxes and spending as a state legislator and leading Governor Mike Pence’s efforts to reform Indiana’s workforce needs and reduce veteran unemployment,” said Braun’s campaign manager, Matt Humm, responding to our request for a statement on the matter.

Braun is running in the GOP primary to replace Rep. Todd Rokita, who along with Braun’s brother, is among a group of Republicans running for U.S. Senate.

Mike Braun’s voting history was detailed earlier this week in a report from the Associated Press, which found records showing that Mike Braun had voted ‘consistently’ in Democratic primaries in Southern Indiana several years ago.

Mike Braun’s campaign insists Braun has always been a Republican, according to the Associated Press report:

“In Indiana, voters are not required to register with one particular party. Rather, their selection of a Republican or Democratic primary ballot becomes their de facto party affiliation.

That makes the timing of Braun’s 2012 switch to the GOP significant in light of his election to the Indiana House of Representatives in 2014.

Under Indiana law, partisan candidates are required to have cast a ballot in their party’s previous primary, unless they receive written special permission from their local county chairman.

Braun, who served nearly three years in the Legislature, qualified for the ballot as a Republican in 2014 because he pulled his first recorded GOP ballot in 2012.

Still, his campaign denies he was ever a Democrat. They insist he always voted Republican in general elections, though that’s hard to prove because general election ballots are kept secret.”

According to Boone County voting records, Steve Braun’s first recorded GOP primary ballot came in 2012, the same year he ran for state representative.

As a result, Braun did need permission from the county chair to run as a Republican that year, according to a campaign official, who also noted that the issue was ‘vetted by voters’ in 2012 after it was raised initially that year in a campaign mailer from Braun’s primary opponent.

Braun is running against State Rep. Jim Baird, former Pence aide Diego Morales, and two other candidates, Kevin Grant and Jared Thomas in the 4th district Congressional primary.