INDIANAPOLIS | With the Republican secretary of state and state auditor nominations likely locked up by incumbents, the state treasurer race is shaping up to be the battle to watch at next summer's GOP state convention.
Over the weekend, a third candidate formally announced her bid for the party's treasurer nomination. Kelly Mitchell, director of the TrustINdiana local government investment pool under current state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, e-mailed GOP county chairs to declare she's running.
"As a public servant in the treasurer's office, I have been afforded the unparalleled opportunity to work with a strong team dedicated to preserving the state's funds in spite of the nation's recent recession," Mitchell said. "We have done well in Indiana, but I believe that now it is time to do more."
Mitchell, a 1989 Valparaiso University graduate, served two terms as a Cass County commissioner before joining the treasurer's office in 2007.
She is expected to have the backing of Mourdock, who is reaching the end of his term limits. The unsuccessful 2012 Republican U.S. Senate candidate has yet to announce his plans.
If Mitchell is to succeed her boss, she'll have to prevail in a convention floor fight for the Republican treasurer nomination against three-term Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold and Don Bates Jr., of Richmond.
Seybold, a 1988 Olympic figure skater, announced his run for state treasurer in June and has spent the summer picking up the endorsements of Republican elected officials and probable convention delegates, including LaPorte Mayor Blair Milo.
Crown Point billionaire Dean White donated $15,000 to Seybold in September, more than doubling Seybold's prior fundraising totals.
White's support has helped elect Gov. Mike Pence, former Gov. Mitch Daniels, Attorney General Greg Zoeller and a Republican majority in the General Assembly.
Bates, a financial adviser, lost Republican primaries for the U.S. House in 2012 and the U.S. Senate in 2010.
No Democrat has announced his or her intention to seek the party's state treasurer nomination, though Indiana Democratic Chairman John Zody has promised, "We will field a strong candidate for this office."
The state treasurer is responsible for maintaining and investing state funds, heads the 911 emergency telephone board, manages the state's college savings program and leads the Indiana Bond Bank, which provides low-interest loans to local governments.