INDIANAPOLIS - State Auditor Tim Berry is Gov. Mike Pence’s choice to be the Indiana Republican Party’s next chairman.
Pence sent a letter to the state GOP’s executive committee Wednesday morning announcing that he’d picked Berry, and told county and regional chairs on a conference call. Berry will replace outgoing chairman Eric Holcomb, who took a job with U.S. Sen. Dan Coats.
The move creates a vacancy in the state auditor position, which gives Pence the authority to appoint his selection for the office. That person will be up for re-election in 2014.
The political calculus is that Pence’s pick for auditor right now will be sure to win the GOP nomination next year – important, since some Republicans saw Treasurer Richard Mourdock as a potential candidate and whose return to the ballot they’d hoped to avoid.
“Having won four statewide elections, Tim Berry knows what it takes to run successful campaigns in Indiana. 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,’” Pence said in the letter.
The choice of Berry was quickly hailed by an Indiana Republican legislative leader.
“I think the selection is a rock solid choice for Gov. Pence and the Indiana Republican Party. I’ve known Tim Berry for 25 years and he’s extremely competent, well-spoken and understands the Indiana political landscape as well as anyone I know. He’ll be an excellent chairman,” said state Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne.
Pence said he was recommending that Misty Dees Hollis of Richmond be the vice chairwoman, and Kyle Robertson – Pence’s campaign manager – be the party’s executive director. His choices are all but certain to be confirmed by the party’s executive committee.
“Kyle Robertson served as my campaign manager and has directed my political operations for over three and a half years. Kyle is a seasoned political strategist who has directed several successful campaigns in over a dozen states from local, state, congressional and all the way up to the gubernatorial level,” Pence said.
The choices of Berry and Hollis will become official next week when Republicans meet to vote on who will fill their top positions.