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Court Ruling Not Final Word In Secretary Of State Dispute

Charlie White still has appeals pending over his felony convictions.

The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled that former Secretary of State Charlie White was eligible to run for office in 2010. That means Governor Mitch Daniels will be able to appoint White’s permanent replacement.

White was removed from office last month after being convicted of six felonies, including voter fraud.

However, Editor of the Indiana Legislative Insight Ed Feigenbaum says White is still appealing parts of his conviction, complicating the choice for a replacement.

“I don’t think you can rule out the whole question of Charlie White’s conviction being overturned, and this becoming another issue if he would try to regain office,” he says.

Daniels has already appointed Jerry Bonnet as the interim Secretary of State, but he will not necessarily be the governor’s final choice. Bonnet is not seen as a seasoned politician by many in the statehouse, so political analysts say he would be unlikely to run for a second term.

Feigenbaum says White would have good reason to return to the office.

“Charlie White may have an interest in doing it, he may want to get his state pension back, or get the salary for the office returned to him for the time he was kicked out,” he says. “I don’t know what’s on his mind, and he’d still have to win the appeal, but I think it’s something people should be keeping an eye open for.”

But Feigenbuam says if Daniels were to choose someone other than Bonnet, White’s return would likely not be welcomed by either party.

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