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GOP sweeps statewide races with all-female ticket

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By Hannah Troyer
Gov. Mike Pence welcomes statewide winners and others to the podium during a celebration Tuesday night at GOP headquarters in Indianapolis. Joining him on the small stage were, from left, Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, Senate President Pro Tem David Long, state Treasurer-elect Kelly Mitchell, Auditor Suzanne Crouch and Secretary of State Connie Lawson. - THESTATEHOUSEFILE.COM
  • thestatehousefile.com
  • Gov. Mike Pence welcomes statewide winners and others to the podium during a celebration Tuesday night at GOP headquarters in Indianapolis. Joining him on the small stage were, from left, Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, Senate President Pro Tem David Long, state Treasurer-elect Kelly Mitchell, Auditor Suzanne Crouch and Secretary of State Connie Lawson.

Republicans swept the elections for statewide office Tuesday with easy wins over Democrats running for auditor, treasurer and secretary of state.

The results mean that Auditor Suzanne Crouch and Secretary of State Connie Lawson will keep their offices, while Kelly Mitchell will move into the treasurer’s office.

“It’s ladies night,” Indiana Republican Party Chairman Tim Berry announced to a packed GOP state headquarters as he welcomed Crouch, Lawson and Mitchell to a small stage flanked by flags.

Republicans continue to hold all statewide offices except the superintendent of public instruction, which Democrat Glenda Ritz won two years ago. That race gave Democrats some hope of picking up additional wins this year but their candidates never gained significant traction.

“It’s a historic night to elect three women statewide in the state of Indiana,” Berry said. “And that’s a positive step in the right direction.”

Lawson defeated Democrat Beth White, the Marion County clerk, 57-39 percent in what was considered the top race on the ticket. Libertarian Kari Tatgenhorst had 3 percent.

Democrat Beth White lost her bid for secretary of state to incumbent Republican Connie Lawson. - PHOTO BY HANNAH TROYER, THESTATEHOUSEFILE.COM
  • Photo by Hannah Troyer, TheStatehouseFile.com
  • Democrat Beth White lost her bid for secretary of state to incumbent Republican Connie Lawson.

Though White lost the race, she says that the Democratic Party will continue to be a voice at the Statehouse.

“Politics is the art of the possible,” White said. “It is possible to solve the problems that the state of Indiana has, but only if we stay involved. We must stay an important voice in this process.”

Lawson was first appointed to serve as secretary of state in 2012 after Republican Charlie White – originally elected to the office – was convicted of voter fraud and forced to resign. Tuesday’s election gives Lawson a full term, which she has said she’ll use to work on voter accessibility issues and consumer protection.

“On day one, my office was open, honest, and responsive,” Lawson said. “I will work tirelessly. We will continue to make Indiana the better place to live.”

Crouch also was appointed to her office initially. Four years ago, voters gave the post to Tim Berry, who resigned in 2013 to become chairman of the Indiana Republican Party. Gov. Mike Pence picked then-Brownsburg Town Councilman Dwayne Sawyer to replace Berry but Sawyer resigned a few months later citing personal reasons.

Pence then turned to Crouch, a former county auditor, county commissioner and state lawmaker. During the campaign, she touted her work on the state’s transparency portal, which is meant to provide more information to the public.

“Every dollar spent should be done so with serious respect and consideration for the people who earned those dollars,” Crouch said. “Every dollar that comes to government has a name and a face attached to it.”

Claytor, however, had told voters he was more qualified for the office than Crouch and that he would provide a balance to the mostly GOP state administration.

Democrat Mike Claytor had told voters that he was the most experienced candidate running for state auditor but incumbent Suzanne Crouch defeated him Tuesday. - PHOTO BY HANNAH TROYER, THESTATEHOUSEFILE.COM
  • Photo by Hannah Troyer, TheStatehouseFile.com
  • Democrat Mike Claytor had told voters that he was the most experienced candidate running for state auditor but incumbent Suzanne Crouch defeated him Tuesday.

But Crouch prevailed, defeating him with 60 percent to Claytor’s 36 percent. Libertarian John Schick had 4 percent.

“We really didn’t see the numbers we were hoping for tonight,” Claytor said. “We may have lost an election but don’t think our efforts are not important. We have taken this office and this race to a different level. We have set the stage for a Democratic victory in 2018.”

Mitchell, who previously worked in the auditor’s office, defeated Democrat Mike Boland, a former lawmaker from Illinois. Mitchell had 58 percent to Boland’s 37 percent. Libertarian Mike Jasper had 5 percent.

She replaces Richard Mourdock, who served nearly two terms before leaving in September. Daniel Huge is currently serving as the interim treasurer until Mitchell takes over.

“I’m going to get my team together and start working out my plans for investing our tax dollars, implementing Save Indiana, college savings accounts, and much, much more,” Mitchell said.

Reporters Ben Brown and Garrett Day contributed to this story. Troyer, Brown and Day are reporters for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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