INDIANAPOLIS — A former state representative who cast himself as an outsider businessman akin to President Donald Trump has won Indiana's Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.

Mike Braun, of Jasper, prevailed over two congressmen, in one of the nastiest primary contests in the country, for the opportunity to take on U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., in the November general election.

Braun celebrated his victory Tuesday night amid cheering supporters at a brewery in the Indianapolis suburb of Whitestown.

"Tonight, Hoosiers spoke loud and clear — they want a conservative outsider representing them in the U.S. Senate and I am grateful to have their support," Braun said.

"This fall, we’re going to send a message to Senator Donnelly and the rest of Washington that politics shouldn't be a career and if we want to change things we need to change the people we send there. I'm going there to get the job done and come back home, and the only people I'll owe anything to is the voters of Indiana."

Braun's nomination means his two opponents, U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Brownsburg, and U.S. Rep. Luke Messer, R-Greensburg, will be out of a job when their current House terms expire in January.

Rokita, a Munster native, said he hopes Braun “will rise to the occasion” and take up Rokita's mantle of always fighting for Hoosiers.

“Hoosiers need a fighter and that was what this campaign was about. The forgotten men and women of this state, and this country, need someone to fight for them,” Rokita said.

“We have this in the White House, finally. And this party, this Republican Party, is for once in a very long time the party of the working man and woman again — and we never want to lose that.”

Messer was more sanguine about his defeat, telling supporters not to be discouraged by the election result.

“It has been a wild ride,” Messer said. “I just want to say to the people of Indiana what an incredible privilege it has been to get an opportunity to serve this state.”

The three candidates all offered Hoosier Republicans nearly identical conservative policy positions and pledged unwavering loyalty to Trump.

GOP voters apparently responded to Braun's Trump-like promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C., by taking Braun's advice and nominating a businessman for the Senate race, rather than promoting a congressman.

Braun is CEO of Meyer Distributing, a national auto parts company based in Jasper.

He largely used the wealth he earned from his business to self-finance his Senate campaign.

It remains to be seen whether and how Braun will unite Hoosier Republicans behind his candidacy since nearly 60 percent of GOP voters didn't support him Tuesday.

There also may be lingering questions about his party loyalty after Messer, Rokita and six former Indiana GOP chairmen claimed in the final weeks of the campaign that Braun is not a genuine Republican based on his history of voting in Democratic primaries.

Braun, who served three years in the Indiana House as a Republican, should get an assist Thursday in beefing up his GOP bona fides when Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, the state's former governor, hold a rally in Elkhart that Braun is expected to attend.

That likely also will begin the GOP's sustained attacks against Donnelly, a Democrat running for re-election in a state Trump won in 2016 by 19 percent.

Donnelly was unopposed for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination. He said he looks forward to the upcoming campaign against Braun.

“It's going to be a choice,” Donnelly said. “It's a choice of who is going to fight to provide decent and affordable healthcare for Hoosiers. Who is going to fight to protect our good paying jobs.”

Donnelly also pledged to continue being “an independent voice” for Indiana in the Senate by supporting Trump when he believes Trump is right and suggesting alternatives when the president makes the wrong decision.

“My job is not to be a cheerleader for the president. My job is not to be cheerleader for a party leader or a party," Donnelly said. "My job is to work nonstop for Hoosiers."

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