March 15, 2021

Indiana Democrats Prepare To Elect New State Party Chair March 20

Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Indiana Democratic Party Chair John Zody announced after the 2020 elections he would not run for a third term leading the state party.  - Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Indiana Democratic Party Chair John Zody announced after the 2020 elections he would not run for a third term leading the state party.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

The Indiana Democratic Party will choose a new state chair on March 20, as current head John Zody steps down after eight years at the helm.

But what, exactly, is the state chair of a political party responsible for?

University of Indianapolis political scientist Laura Wilson said state party chair is a difficult but vital position. Most people experience their influence primarily through elections: state party chairs help identify and recruit candidates. And Wilson said they also direct money.

“You only have so many resources, so where that money goes – even in terms of where the talent, where you’re encouraging people to hire … they’re influential in the organization of campaigns themselves,” Wilson said.

Wilson said becoming the new chair of Indiana Democrats will bring both great pressure and opportunity for a party that is struggling to maintain relevance statewide.

“They need to be able to provide a new focus," Wilson said. "A lot of the messaging that the Democratic candidates have had recently hasn’t been resonating with Hoosier voters … probably also mobilizing people and motivating them.”

There are three candidates for state Democratic Party chair – Trish Whitcomb, Mike Schmuhl and Tom Wallace.

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

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