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Government

Open Indiana State Treasurer race attracts plenty of Republican candidates

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Indiana State Treasurer Kelly Mitchell is term-limited from running for her position again. (FILE PHOTO: Tyler Lake/WTIU)

There are nearly half a dozen Republicans vying to become the next Indiana state treasurer, an unusually high number for a statewide office like that.

Current State Treasurer Kelly Mitchell is term-limited, unable to run again. And since no Democrat has won the office in nearly five decades, winning the Republican nomination is where the race likely lies.

But why are so many interested in a position that only pays $89,000 a year and hasn’t, in the past, been a springboard to higher office?

“Why not have a good job for eight years that, quite frankly, should lead to good, private sector employment after the eight years, given what you have to do?” said Andrew Downs, director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics.

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Despite having to win a statewide election to be in the office, state treasurer typically hasn’t led to bigger political opportunities – the last two officeholders tried and failed to win federal races.

Downs said that’s probably not a coincidence.

“When you don’t have to run a tough campaign, you don’t know how to run a tough campaign,” Downs said.

Republican candidates for treasurer must earn their party’s nomination at the state GOP convention, not in a public primary.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.
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