State GOP Convention will be a Republican family feud

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The Indiana GOP Convention begins Friday in Fort Wayne and it will be the scene of good old-fashioned family feud. There is a three-way battle for the nomination for state treasurer.

It’s a contest for the chance to succeed GOP Treasurer Richard Mourdock. A term limit prevents him from running again but his legacy will loom over this race.

It’s a campaign that Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold began running exactly one year ago. Don Bates, Jr. jumped in shortly afterward and Kelly Mitchell was a late addition to the field.

They have similar sales pitches.

“Ours is that we bring the experience of local government,” says Seybold.

“I think it’s going to come down to experience,” says Mitchell.

When asked what is going to decide the nomination, Bates says simply, “Experience.”

But negatives will also have a bearing.

Seybold has faced charges that he mismanaged an economic development deal in Marion. He says the State Board of Accounts cleared him and he plays down the attacks.

“Cause this really hasn’t been a very contentious deal,” says Seybold. “I mean I’ve seen races that have been a lot more, probably uglier than this one has been.”

Bates is the target of a lawsuit accusing him of wrongdoing in a land deal. He says the charges are false and hopes delegates will focus on how hard he’s worked.

“It’s been a long race,” he said. “You know, 92 counties and we’ve been to almost every one of them.”

Mitchell currently works for Richard Mourdock in the Treasurer’s office. The man who lost the 2012 race for Senate is no longer a party favorite and Mitchell knows it.

“You know, I’m running my own campaign as my own person,” she said, “with my own visions, my own values, my plan for the office.”

In a Republican state the winner will automatically be the favorite in November.

State GOP Chairman Tim Berry says he expects that it will take more than one ballot to determine who wins the nomination.

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