Gov. Mike Pence moved quickly to name Dan Huge to finish the remainder of Mourdock's term. Huge is the former CFO of the Capital Improvement Board and current chief operating officer of the Indiana Finance Authority. In a manner of speaking, he's a stooge for Barnes & Thornburg's Bob Grand and Brian Burdick, who in case you didn't know it are the people who are actually in charge of running the State Treasurer's Office. Most recently-elected State Treasurers were all under their thumb, with the exception of Joyce Brinkman. When Brinkman refused to take orders from Grand and Burdick, they saw to it that her butt was kicked to the curb and that she was permanently banished from Republican Party politics in this state. Grand and Burdick tried unsuccessfully to install their handpicked candidate, Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold, to the office but were thwarted by state GOP delegates when Seybold lost out to Mourdock staffer, Kelly Mitchell. It remains to be seen whether Mitchell can run the office herself if she wins in November, or whether she's been told in no uncertain terms who has to be in charge if she knows what's good for her political future.
I feel similarly about the decision of Gov. Mike Pence to name State Rep. Steve Braun (R-Zionsville) as the state's new director of the Department of Workforce Development. Braun is a candidate for re-election this November and, although Pence announced his appointment this week, he won't actually take office until after he wins re-election in his safely-Republican district. It's too late to name another Republican candidate to take his place on the ballot; therefore, he'll just pretend his running for re-election. Then the Republican precinct committeepersons will be called together to name his successor, who will have the privilege of serving a full two-year term without before ever having to face the voters. This practice is becoming way too common, allowing lawmakers to be chosen in backroom deals by political power brokers rather than the voters.
UPDATE: Kelly Mitchell released the following statement about being shocked and surprised about learning of Mourdock's resignation today. She says she told Pence not to appoint her to the office she is now seeking. Who does she think she's kidding? She was never offered the appointment. Pence is, after all, Bob Grand's stooge.
“I was shocked and surprised by the news of Treasurer Mourdock’s resignation today. Since I learned of this, people have approached me asking if I would be interested in being appointed by Governor Pence to finish the current term. I gave this serious thought. Because I care deeply about the office and state, the prospect of joining the office immediately and helping Hoosiers in that new role is exciting.
“However, for nearly a year, I have been making my case to voters that I have the experience and vision required to be voted the next State Treasurer. I’m confident I can earn their trust, so I have called Governor Pence and asked not to be considered to be appointed at this time.
“Given that the next 60 days are the most intense days on the campaign trail, my focus right now is to be sure that the voters of Indiana get to know me and my values, and that I work hard to earn their vote on Election Day. I look forward to continuing to share my vision for the office and earning your trust between now and November 4. I would be humbled to be elected your next Indiana State Treasurer and to begin my service to our great state then.”