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Longtime alcohol lobbyist Marc Carmichael is first Democrat to announce U.S. Senate bid

An American flag flies in front of the U.S. Capitol Building dome.
FILE PHOTO: Justin Hicks
IPB News
Indiana's 2024 U.S. Senate race is an open one, as incumbent U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) is running for governor.

Former longtime alcohol lobbyist Marc Carmichael is Democrats’ first candidate this cycle to announce a bid for Indiana’s open U.S. Senate seat.

Carmichael would face an uphill battle against the likely Republican candidate, U.S. Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City).

Carmichael spent nearly five years in the Indiana House of Representatives in the late '80s and early '90s. He also ran an unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 1996.

Carmichael spent two decades as head of the Indiana Beverage Alliance, a trade association for beer distributors, before retiring in 2020.

READ MORE: Former Gov. Mitch Daniels decides not to run for U.S. Senate

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In a statement announcing his candidacy, the Democrat laid out 10 policy positions he’d work towards as a U.S. senator – chief among them codifying abortions rights into law. He says he’ll also seek to ban, in his words, “military-style assault weapons,” take “immediate” action on climate change and support LGBTQ+ youth.

The last Indiana Democrat to win a race for U.S. Senate was Joe Donnelly more than a decade ago.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.