Indiana businessman Mike Braun and Ohio State Sen. Troy Balderson, both NFIB members, have won their primaries ahead of November's elections.
Two NFIB members have made national waves after separately winning two different primary races. State Sen. Troy Balderson won the Republican primary for Ohio’s 12th congressional district in both the special and regular elections, while businessman Mike Braun also won the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate in Indiana.
“We congratulate both Mike and Troy on their hard fought victories,” said NFIB National Political Director Sharon Sussin. “We know NFIB members love to see one of their own step up to help make the voice of small business heard in Congress.”
The two nominees approached their races from different directions. In Indiana, Braun has labeled himself a political outsider. He beat two U.S. congressmen for the nomination and has previously served as a state representative for three years. He will go up against incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly, who has held the seat since 2013.
The businessman attended Wabash College in Indiana and graduated from Harvard Business School with an MBA. He founded Crystal Farms Inc., one of the largest turkey operations in the Midwest. He is also the owner of Meyer Distributing, which has been an NFIB member since 1972.
“From the beginning our message has been pretty simple—we need more outsiders and less career politicians in Washington. More folks that have done something in the real world,” Braun told the Indianapolis Star. “Sen. Donnelly is just another career politician who has spent nearly his entire career in politics and government. When he’s in Indiana he acts like one of us, but in Washington, he votes against us, against President Trump and in lockstep with the Democrats.”
Balderson, meanwhile, has experience in Ohio’s legislature, having served as a state senator in Ohio’s 20th Senate District for two terms. He is also a chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and he is a member of the Senate Finance Committee. He owns Zanesville-based Balderson Motor Sales, which has been an NFIB member since 2008.
Balderson will be running against Danny O’Connor, the Franklin County recorder. Balderson won former Rep. Pat Tiberi’s district, a seat that opened when Tiberi resigned from Congress earlier this year. A special election will be held on August 7.
“The next step is we’ll regroup the campaign team. We’ll kind of set a plan of what we want to do,” Balderson told WHIZ News. “We’ll look and see where we, you know, didn’t make the numbers that we wanted to make and see what we can do differently to cover the 12th Congressional District and, you know, setting up a different type of ground game.”