INDIANAPOLIS – Rep. Braun voted 98% of the time for the agenda of embattled Speaker of the House Brian Bosma and his fellow GOP leaders during his Statehouse tenure, the Indy Star reported today.
At Monday’s debate, Rep. Braun claimed his independent record “speaks for itself,” a claim he has repeated throughout the campaign. In reality, however, Rep. Braun marched in lockstep with Bosma. The Star dug into Rep. Braun’s career in the General Assembly and revealed that out of the more than 1,400 votes taken during Rep. Braun’s three years at the Statehouse, he voted against Bosma and his party on just 22 votes, or 2% of the time. Where he did vote against his party, it was often to break with a bipartisan majority on popular legislation like an amendment to ‘claw back’ tax breaks from Carrier after they shipped jobs to Mexico in 2016.
The Star also contrasted Rep. Braun with Joe’s well-documented bipartisan record, noting that “Donnelly, by contrast, has regularly crossed party lines in Washington more often than most lawmakers.”
WASHINGTON – Republican Mike Braun argues voters should send him to the U.S. Senate instead of Democrat Joe Donnelly because he’s an outsider, unafraid to challenge leadership or the status quo in Washington.
“The key thing about a leader is you think independently,” Braun said during Monday’s debate. “If you look at my record, I’ve done that when I was in the state legislature. I’ve done it in my business. A record speaks for itself.”
But Braun showed little of that independence in the votes he cast during his three years in the state legislature.
Of his more than 1,400 votes on the House floor during 2015-2017 where Republicans enjoyed a super majority, Braun disagreed with fellow Republicans 2 percent of the time, an IndyStar review found.
The 22 times that he was on the opposite side of a majority of Republicans included when he opposed allowing counties to implement needle exchanges without the approval of the state, opposed codifying the state’s alternative approach to expanding Medicaid, opposed ending the state schools chief’s authority over the Indiana Board of Education, and supported studying the effects of raising the minimum wage.
Donnelly, by contrast, has regularly crossed party lines in Washington more often than most lawmakers.
In the current Congress, Donnelly has been on the opposite side of a majority of Democrats on more than one-in-five votes, according to ProPublica. That’s the third highest defection among Democratic and Republican senators.
Issues on which he’s sided with Republicans since first being elected to Congress in 2006 include supporting restrictions on abortion, opposing them on guns and coal-fired power plants, and voting for Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. Donnelly, however, also voted against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, voted for the 2010 Affordable Care Act, and backed a path to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants as part of a broader package that included increased border security.
“People ask me –‘Joe, what do you think of President Trump?’ It’s simple. When he’s for Hoosiers, I’m with him,” Donnelly says in a campaign ad. “When something’s bad for Hoosiers…I won’t go along with any president.”
Braun’s campaign declined to say what his own voting record shows about his independence, and declined to explain specific votes when he voted against most Republicans.