Jefferson Shreve wins 6th District Republican primary

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Six months to the day since Jefferson Shreve suffered a defeat in the 2023 Indianapolis mayoral race to Democrat Mayor Joe Hogsett in the 2023, the Storage Express founder won a packed Republican primary Tuesday night in the 6th Congressional District. 

Shreve led the seven Republican candidates with 28% of the vote followed by state Rep. Mike Speedy with 22% and political newcomer Jamison Carrier with 21%. About 85% of votes were counted as of 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. Other Republican candidates in that race included state Sen. Jeff Raatz, former state Rep. John Jacob, former state Sen. Bill Frazier and Darin Childress.

The 6th Congressional District seat, which includes southern portions of Marion County and stretches east to Ohio, opened up after incumbent U.S. Rep. Greg Pence announced in January he would not seek reelection to Congress. Pence, the older brother of former Gov. and Vice President Mike Pence held the seat since his first election in 2018. 

In a Facebook post, Shreve said he was honored to win the party’s nomination.

“I’ve worked hard every day of my life as a business owner, and I’ll take that same determination and work ethic to Washington to fight for our conservative values and help solve the tough challenges facing our country,” Shreve said.

Carrier in a Facebook post said he called Shreve to congratulate him on his victory. Carrier campaigned on securing the southern border following the death of his stepson in 2022 from a fentanyl overdose.

“I decided to run for Congress to ensure no other Indiana family has to go through what Kathy and I have,” Carrier said on Facebook. “During my conversation with Jefferson, I asked him to continue our mission, to which he agreed.”

Shreve will face Democrat Cynthia Wirth and Libertarian James Sceniak in November. The Storage Express founder is likely to become the district’s next Congressman, as Pence defeated Wirth in 2022 by 35 percentage points. If Shreve wins in November, it would be his first-ever general election victory.

Shreve filed for the 6th District primary on the last day of the filing deadline in February, just months after his mayoral election loss. His candidacy has largely drawn headlines for the $4.5 million loan he gave his congressional campaign and the far-right shift he made in political messaging just months after running for mayor of Indianapolis.

Shreve’s opponents and critics specifically attacked his mayoral public safety proposal from last summer, which included calling for Indianapolis to have the ability to strengthen its gun control measures. Shreve earned an “F” rating from the National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund, the lowest rating of any of the 6th District Republican candidates.

But Shreve said he loaned money to his campaign to focus more on meeting with stakeholders in the congressional district and used social media and messaging to highlight his business experience and the need for a “secure border.”

Shreve was not the only 6th District candidate to rely on personal wealth. As of mid-April Speedy had loaned his campaign close to $1.3 million and Carrier $750,000.

The 2024 race is the first open election in the 6th District since Indiana lawmakers in 2021 changed the boundaries to include southern portions of Marion County. 

Contact IndyStar’s state government and politics reporter Brittany Carloni at brittany.carloni@indystar.com or 317-779-4468. Follow her on Twitter/X@CarloniBrittany.

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