2014 will be the first time an Indiana Republican state convention is held outside of Indianapolis. And party leader Tim Berry – who was officially installed as chairman Monday – says the move will help show off the state’s second largest city while bringing new energy to the convention.
“It’s going to bring new excitement to our three races next year that we’ll be nominating at the state convention: Connie Lawson, our Secretary of State, along with a candidate for State Auditor and State Treasurer,” Berry says.
The GOP will be following in the footsteps of Indiana Democrats, who held their convention in Fort Wayne last year. Then Party Chairman Dan Parker says the conventions were often overshadowed by other events in Indianapolis, while in Fort Wayne it was the main attraction.
“Besides getting together with your delegates, there was a lot more socializing. You just didn’t show up to the convention center in Indianapolis, go to your meetings and then leave,” he says. ”There were more people staying at the hotels; there were more people socializing.”
Berry says moving the GOP convention to Fort Wayne is not a response to the Democratic convention there. Parker says he’s glad both parties are embracing conventions outside of Indianapolis and says he offered former GOP Chair Eric Holcomb advice on holding a convention away from the capital.