In several counties in Indiana, more people than ever before have signed up to run for delegate – an obscure political office that can have a big influence in shaping politics in the state.
“Normally I have to beg for people to become delegates,” says Brown County GOP chairman Mark Bowman. “This year, we had 25 people enter the race to be a delegate, for only six positions available. It’s crazy.”
Bowman says he’s not sure what sparked the interest, but says a grassroots political organization called We the People spent last summer recruiting people in the county to run at 4-H fairs and other events.
He said he called the group and talked to them.
“They have no clue what offices they’re even voting for. They just signed up,” he says.
Delegates attend the state party conventions in Indianapolis held every two years, and select the party’s nominee for secretary of state, auditor and treasurer.
Secretary of state is the third-highest officeholder in the state. treasurer, meanwhile, is responsible for management of about $10 million in state funds.
Both conventions will be June 18, with Republicans meeting in the coliseum at the state fairgrounds, while Democrats will gather at the convention center.
In addition to choosing the nominees for these three offices, delegates also vote on proposed changes to the state party’s platform, if there are any.
In most counties, the people who are elected delegates also hold other offices or are longtime party activists.
But this year, many new names are on ballots.
“We filled up all our delegate spots,” says Lake County Republican activist Charlie Kallas.
As the state’s second-most-populous county, Lake County has 82 Republican delegate positions. This year, 132 people have filed to run.
“This is the first time this has ever happened in Lake County where we filled all delegate spots…people are actually going to get voted out and not get to be appointed to go,” says Kallas.
He’s been encouraging people to run – people who are likely to vote at the convention for Diego Morales, who is running for Secretary of State.
Kallas says he’s estimated that three quarters of the 132 Republican candidates for delegate would consider Morales as a “first-ballot option” for that office.
There are a total of four Republicans vying for the nomination for Secretary of State. Holli Sullivan, who was appointed to the position last year by Gov. Eric Holcomb, is being challenged by Paul Hager, Morales and David Shelton.
The Treasurer’s race, meanwhile, is an open race with four candidates vying for the nomination – Daniel Elliott, Lana Keesling, Elise Nieshalla and Pete Seat.
In Johnson County, south of Indianapolis, lifelong resident Kim Livorno is running as a Republican delegate for the first time.
“I’m very concerned about voter integrity,” she said when asked what motivated her to run. “It seemed like the state delegate was… nobody knew anything about it, you know? It was a position that was kind of kept hidden, and what a powerful position it is.”
A total of 60 people filed to be GOP delegates in Johnson County, but six were challenged on the ballot and disqualified, as they hadn’t voted in the two most recent Republican primary elections.
Under a law passed by the Indiana General Assembly last year, a person must vote in the prior two party primary elections in order to run for office as a member of that party, or get a certification letter from their county chairman.
This article was originally posted on Flood of new GOP delegates running in Indiana primary election