FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) -
Indiana Republicans picked an all-woman team to lead their ticket in
November at their convention Saturday, but also struggled through a divisive
gay marriage battle and heard their state treasurer compare national economy
to the events leading up to Germany’s 1936 elections under the Nazi regime.
Treasurer’s office staffer
Kelly Mitchell won a surprise victory in three rounds of balloting at the
convention to best Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold and financial adviser Don
Bates for the treasurer’s nomination. She now joins Secretary of State
Connie Lawson and Auditor Suzanne Crouch to make the three statewide
Republican candidates for office this year all women.
“My heart is full
of gratitude, it is overflowing,” Mitchell said, as she took the stage to
accept the nomination. A tight-knit team of young Republicans, many of them
who cut their teeth when former Gov. Mitch Daniels ran the party, helped
lift Mitchell to victory through hours of balloting.
The Republican Convention
in Fort Wayne was formally about the party selecting its candidates for
office and approving its platform, but Treasurer Richard Mourdock drew
attention when he compared the national economy to the events that led to
the election of the Nazis.
Mourdock, who was on stage
accepting a thank-you award from Republicans after eight years as state
treasurer, talked about the sacrifice of veterans and D-Day, which happened
70 years ago. But he then launched into an analogy explaining how the Nazis
exploited Germany’s bankruptcy to win office and stating that continuing
debt troubles are likely to place the U.S. in a similar position.
“The truth is 70
years later we are drifting toward the tides of another beachhead with the
bankruptcy of America,” he said.
Republican Party Chairman
Tim Berry said he did not hear Mourdock’s comments because he was busy
running the convention, but called comments regarding Nazis inappropriate.
Mourdock’s comments came
shortly before the party’s delegates wrangled with the ongoing question of
gay marriage. Social conservatives successfully amended the party’s platform
last month to support marriage being between one man and one woman.
Opponents of that language being the platform led an unsuccessful fight to
have it removed from the platform.
Tom John, a Marion County
delegate, proposed stripping the marriage language from the platform.
“This is about
growing our party, not dividing our party,” he said. “This amendment is not
about whether we support gay marriage or oppose gay marriage. What this is
about is party unity.”
Rush County Republican
Chairman Michael Dora, who authored the marriage language in the platform,
argued his language - which recognizes multiple family structures - was a
compromise with moderate Republicans.
The roughly 1,500 delegates
who attended Saturday’s convention overwhelmingly supported keeping the
marriage language in the platform.