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Braun receives phone call from President Trump after primary win

INDIANAPOLIS – Businessman and former state lawmaker Mike Braun received a flurry of phone calls late Tuesday night, including from President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, he said in the hours following his primary victory against two well-established Republican congressmen.

The Associated Press called the race for Braun Tuesday evening, beating both Luke Messer and Todd Rokita in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

Braun, who will face Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in November, said Tuesday night’s call was his first conversation with the president.

“It was interesting,” Braun said in an interview with FOX59. “It was along the lines of ‘great job, you took on a couple pros and showed you could lay out a game plan and execute it. We were watching and we are going to campaign the dickens out of Indiana.’

“And there might have been a different word there. And that was great. And we talked about just the journey ahead.”

Donnelly, who is facing his first re-election bid, talked with reporters Wednesday morning, hours after the results were called.

“I don’t worry about incumbent or non-incumbent,” he said.

Donnelly is one of ten Democratic senators facing re-election in states President Trump won in 2016.

“2018 is really the first opportunity for most of the states to have a referendum on Trump,” Mike Murphy said, a former GOP state lawmaker.

Both Donnelly and Braun said Wednesday said they would aim for a campaign focused on issues but acknowledged the overall campaign will be hard-fought.

“I’ve never been afraid of a fight,” Donnelly said. “I’m fifth of five in an Irish family, and you don’t eat dinner if you weren’t ready to scrap and get going when you got to the table. If somebody wants to take a swing at me, I’ll be right there to fight back.”

Braun is expected to attend a rally in Elkhart Thursday with President Trump and Vice President Pence.