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Jeff Cardwell to be new GOP chairman

Berry resigns post he's held for nearly two years

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Tim Berry is out as chairman of the Indiana Republican Party and Indianapolis businessman Jeff Cardwell is on his way in.

Berry – a former state treasurer and Allen County official – announced Thursday he would resign his post as head of the party, saying that the decision to “hand over the gavel was not easy.”

Already, Gov. Mike Pence has said that Cardwell – who serves as his senior advisor and special assistant to the governor – is his choice to be the next chairman. Pence shared that request in a call Thursday afternoon with members of the Indiana Republican State Committee, who are expected to confirm the selection.

Berry lauded the governor’s choice.

“As a former city-county councilman Jeff will bring a local grassroots perspective that will be invaluable,” Berry said in a statement. “I’m confident he will lead our strong team and work hard to support our Republican candidates – especially as we head into this year’s important municipal elections.”

It’s not clear whether Berry elected to resign or Pence asked him to do so.

But Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, he appreciated Berry’s “willingness to step up and lead our party when called upon. “His capable, effective leadership has been appreciated by members of the Senate Majority Caucus, among many others in the state,” Long said. “I wish him all the best as he moves on to the next chapter in his life and career.”

Pence appointed Berry to the post nearly two years ago. At the time, Berry was serving in his second term as state auditor, a position he gave up to move into a political role.

During Berry’s time as chairman, the Republicans strengthened their majorities in both the House and Senate and swept three statewide offices.

“I’m particularly excited about the significant improvements we have made in the last year to build upon our voter database, strengthen our technology infrastructure and increase voter outreach,” Berry said in a statement. “I’m humbled to have served the party in this capacity, and will continue to be a proud supporter.”

Cardwell is a real estate professional, entrepreneur and radio personality who founded World In Need, a not-for-profit charitable organization.

Pence picked Cardwell in 2013 to serve as executive director of the Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives later brought him into his cabinet as a senior advisor.

Lesley Weidenbener is the executive editor of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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