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Democrats Unsure About Replacement For Senator Vi Simpson

Minority Senate Leader Vi Simpson says she will resign and the Monroe County Democrats will have to choose her replacement.

Vi Simpson

Photo: Gretchen Frazee/WFIU-WTIU News

Vi Simpson has served in the statehouse for 28 years--a distinction that has earned her positions including senate minority leader. She says her successor will have to build up his or her own seniority.

Ellettsville State Senator and Senator Minority Leader Vi Simpson accepted Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg’s offer to be his running mate Wednesday, meaning she will have to give up her Senate seat as a result.

Because Simpson was up for reelection this year, she will request her name be taken off November’s ballot. Then a caucus of Monroe County Democrats will choose her replacement.

The Bloomington-area native says she gave leaving the Senate a lot of thought before deciding to run alongside Gregg. But she says a chance at the lieutenant governor’s office was something she couldn’t pass up.

“There’s a point in your career, I think, when it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and test what you’re able to do,” she says.

The question now is who will replace Simpson when she resigns as a Senator. Monroe County Democratic Party Chairman Rick Dietz says since Simpson hasn’t officially resigned that legally there is no vacancy to be filled at this time.

“But if there is a vacancy then we will move forward with the process for filling that and then any candidate that’s interested would be able to file through the normal process,” Dietz says.

Dietz has never been chairperson when a state position needed to be filled and says he is unsure exactly how the process will move forward.

Reporter Gretchen Frazee contributed to this report.

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