|Indiana Auditor of State|
Indiana GOP Chair Nominee
After Eric Holcomb hit the door, the state's highest-ranking elephant could have chosen anyone to be his replacement.
Instead, Governor Mike Pence looked pretty much across the hall from his Statehouse office and tapped Indiana Auditor of State Tim Berry to be his dude. This move, according to reports (such as this one from the Evansville Courier Press), was likely purely political.
Early speculation was that Indiana Treasurer of State, Richard Mourdock, was considering giving the Auditor's job a run. Given Mourdock's far far far far far right views and unfortunate comments about rape during the 2012 General Election campaign for U.S. Senate, you can understand why Pence and other GOP leaders would have issues with a possible statewide run for Mourdock again.
If his appointment as chair is approved, Berry will resign from his job as Auditor ending his nearly 15-year run in state office. That will open the door for Governor Pence to select a replacement for Berry. That will essentially also select the GOP nominee for Auditor in 2014 should Pence's selection want to continue in that role.
Unlike most offices where Republicans and Democrats go to the polls on Primary Election Day and elect their party's nominees, these two political parties nominate their choices for the state offices of Secretary of State, Auditor, Treasurer, Attorney General, and Superintendent of Public Instruction at their state conventions. In 2014, Auditor, Secretary of State, and Treasurer will be on the ballot.
Indianapolis City-County Councillor Mike McQuillen was thought to be considering the GOP nomination for the Auditor's Office. I'm not sure if this changes his calculus at all. He has had two huge fundraisers with impressive names over the past two years. It is unknown if Pence will nominate him to fill out Berry's term.
Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold, also a Republican, recently announced he would run for Indiana Treasurer. Incumbent Secretary of State Connie Lawson is trying to be elected on her own right. She, of course, was nominated by Mitch Daniels to replace Jerold Bonnett, the interim Secretary of State. Bonnett took over for Charlie White after he was removed from office.
A few people have asked me for my reaction to Berry's nomination. Frankly Scarlett, I'm underwhelmed. Berry, as the Courier-Press points out, is a business-as-usual nomination for the GOP. While Berry is a loyal Republican, I'm not sure he brings much to the table that is new or interesting.
I'm also not sure if Pence had let the normal course of things play out that Mourdock would have had a chance to win the Auditor's race, anyway. I think the party faithful in the GOP would have put a stop to the impending car wreck that would have been another statewide Mourdock campaign. If anything, the choice signals that Pence doesn't trust his own party faithful.
Sorry for the Gone with the Wind reference.