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December 30, 2012

State political drama in ‘13 will rest with GOP

Two-year budget talks will dominate next session

(Continued)

INDIANAPOLIS — STATE PARTIES

Another set of changes that could come in 2013 involve the leadership of state political parties.

At the Indiana Republican Party, things aren’t yet clear. Chairman Eric Holcomb is a long-time Daniels hand, and it’s possible that Pence — the new titular head of the party in the state — could seek to replace him with a close ally of his own.

At the Indiana Democratic Party, Chairman Dan Parker plans to step down at the end of his current term in March. A number of party leaders say they are looking to U.S. Sen.-elect Joe Donnelly for guidance on who should replace him.

“Senator-elect Donnelly and his team have begun the process of reaching out to party leaders statewide to solicit their input about the future of the party’s leadership,” said Kelly Norton, the Indiana Democratic Party’s executive director.

“Joe’s bottom line as he considers candidates to recommend for party leadership is to build a strong party infrastructure that can win races up and down the ballot, up and down the state.”

Early jostling will also take place as the party looks for candidates to run in 2016 against Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Coats and against Pence, if he chooses to seek a second term. One name that could show up on those lists is former U.S. Rep. Baron Hill, who recently blasted out a statement to party members encouraging them about the results of the 2012 elections.

Another leader whose moves will be closely watched is Evan Bayh, the former governor and senator who said on election night that he intends to see his two sons — currently high school juniors — off to college, and then consider his own political future.

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