In a move to reward the establishment, House Republicans narrowly picked Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) as their House Majority Whip for next Congress. While Republicans will indeed be in the majority, it wasn't finalized until nearly a week after the election, and it will be a much smaller majority than hoped for or expected. That's relevant because Emmer chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). Emmer managed to beat out not only Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA), who serves as the House Minority Deputy Whip, but Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), who chairs the Republican Study Committee (RSC). With Banks having narrowly lost, and with Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK) taking over the RSC for next Congress, there's been chatter about what Banks will do next.
On Tuesday night, Andrew Solender reported for Axios that Banks is considering a run for the Senate in 2024, as confirmed by Buckley Carlson, his communications director. That's if Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) doesn't run for reelection.
There's been chatter for months that Braun will instead run for governor. He's told local news outlets that a decision will be announced soon.
Gov. Eric Holcomb (R-IN) currently holds the position Braun may be vying for, but is term limited and cannot run again. Holcomb is also considered something of a RINO, having vetoed legislation protecting women's sports, though the state legislature overturned that, a move that Banks called for and championed.
Braun was first elected in 2018, when he beat then incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), 50.7 percent to 44.8 percent.
As Solender also mentioned, Abdul Hakim-Shabazz for Indy Politics reported on Saturday, that Banks is "all in for the U.S. Senate," according to "sources." Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN) is also mentioned for being interested in running for the seat.
Axios' Jonathan Swan had mentioned a potential Senate run for Banks last month when covering the role of the American Leadership PAC, described as a "Banks-blessed super PAC" in the House Majority Whip race.
As Swan mentioned in that report:
Banks has told allies he is "100% committed" to winning the whip race, a source said, though some of his colleagues believe he has longer-term aspirations to run for the Senate.
- The new super PAC is expected to live on beyond the midterms as Banks' preferred outside vehicle.
Making Banks' narrow loss to Emmer on the second round more newsworthy is that the results could have been different, given that at least one Republican House member voted incorrectly, by voting for Emmer instead of Ferguson. Given that Emmer had 72 votes to Ferguson's 71 on the first ballot, the entire trajectory of the race was changed.
Then again, perhaps this is exactly the kind of catalyst that Banks needed to run for Senate.