Recently appointed Secretary of State Holli Sullivan announced Monday she is running next year for a full term as Indiana's chief elections officer.
The former Republican state representative from Evansville became secretary of state March 16 after being selected by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb to complete the term of Secretary of State Connie Lawson, who decided to retire at age 71.
Sullivan said she plans to focus her campaign on her "proven record of conservative leadership" and her commitment "to defend the integrity of Indiana's elections."
"Indiana's elections are free, fair and secure," Sullivan said. "Now more than ever, we need leadership in the secretary of state's office to protect public trust in our democracy and Indiana's record as a national leader in election security."
Sullivan first will need to win the Republican Party nomination to compete in the Nov. 8, 2022 general election. The GOP nomination will be awarded by delegates attending next summer's Republican State Convention.
State campaign finance records show one other Republican currently is vying for the post: Diego Morales, a onetime aide to former Gov. Mike Pence.
The Democratic and Libertarian Party general election nominees for secretary of state also will be selected next year at each party's state conventions.
The Libertarian Party, however, believes Sullivan already has disqualified herself by including a link to a fundraising website in her initial campaign announcement.
Under Indiana law, candidates for legislative or statewide office, including secretary of state, are prohibited from soliciting or accepting campaign contributions during odd-numbered years prior to the General Assembly adjourning sine die, or for the remainder of the year.
The sine die deadline typically is Thursday. But the Republican-controlled Legislature this year agreed to change it to Nov. 15 to make it easier for lawmakers to return to the Statehouse in the summer and fall to complete the once-a-decade process of redrawing legislative district boundaries that was delayed due to COVID-19 issues at the U.S. Census Bureau.
House Enrolled Act 1372 makes the statutory changes necessary to accommodate the delayed redistricting. But it continues to prohibit fundraising activities for legislative and statewide candidates until after Thursday.
In any case, the measure was not yet signed into law by Holcomb when Sullivan allegedly solicited campaign contributions.
"If you are vying to be elected to head the office that oversees elections and enforces campaign finance laws it would probably be a good idea to not break those laws," said Evan McMahon, Libertarian Party chairman.
Sullivan appears to have since removed all fundraising links from her campaign website and Facebook page, though a Sullivan donation site on the "Win Red" fundraising platform remained active Monday night.
Morales' campaign website still features a prominent "Donate Now" button that also connects to the Win Red platform.