Pence wants state auditor to lead Hoosier Republicans

2013-07-03T17:45:00Z 2013-08-14T10:42:06Z Pence wants state auditor to lead Hoosier RepublicansBy Dan Carden dan.carden@nwi.com, (317) 637-9078 nwitimes.com

INDIANAPOLIS | State Auditor Tim Berry is expected to resign his post later this month to become chairman of the Indiana Republican Party.

During a Wednesday conference call with members of the Republican state committee, Gov. Mike Pence recommended Berry be selected to replace Eric Holcomb as GOP chairman.

"Having won four statewide elections, Tim Berry knows what it takes to run successful campaigns in Indiana," Pence said. "Tim is a cheerful leader who is well known throughout the state to Hoosier Republicans and will help our party grow as we work towards our goal of making Indiana the state that works."

Berry, a Fort Wayne native, has served as state auditor since 2007 and cannot run again in 2014 due to term limits. As state auditor he is responsible for accounting for state funds and paying the bills. He served two terms as state treasurer prior to being elected auditor.

Chuck Williams, of Valparaiso, Northwest Indiana's representative on the Republican state committee, praised Pence's pick and predicted Berry will easily be elected party chairman when the committee meets July 22.

"I think it's a fantastic choice, I think he'll do an outstanding job and people are really excited about it," Williams said. "He knows how to win elections, he knows how to raise money, he's been very loyal and dedicated to the party."

The selection also won praise from U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind.; U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Indianapolis; Indiana Senate President David Long, R-Fort Wayne; and House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis.

"You'll do great," said Rokita, a Munster native, in a Twitter message directed at Berry.

Pence also recommended Misty Dees Hollis, a Richmond City Council member, be appointed vice chairwoman of the Republican Party, and asked that his former campaign manager, Kyle Robertson, be named executive director.

Williams said he expects both will be confirmed.

Holcomb, the current GOP chairman and a former aide to Gov. Mitch Daniels, is leaving his state party job on Tuesday to work as Coats' Indiana chief of staff.

Berry's departure from the auditor's office changes the political calculus heading into the 2014 elections.

Once Berry resigns, Pence will get to appoint a new state auditor who, as the incumbent, will presumably be guaranteed the GOP auditor nomination. Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson, a 2012 Daniels appointee, is also running for re-election.

That likely terminates any chance that Republican State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who is term-limited, will run for auditor or secretary of state, leaving Mourdock without a statewide elected office following his unsuccessful 2012 run for U.S. Senate.

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