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GOP Says Indiana Could Be Key After Super Tuesday Vote

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Photo: Gage Skidmore (Flickr)

No matter which Republican presidential candidate wins the most delegates Tuesday, Indiana's GOP says the state could still be influential in choosing the nominee.

Indiana Republican Party officials say they will monitor the outcome of Super Tuesday elections, but they do not expect them to change the weight of the Hoosier State’s primary on May 8.

Party spokesman Pete Seat says with many states still awarding convention delegates to all candidates based on the percentage of the popular vote they earn, it is harder for any one person to lock up the nomination early. That, he says, gives greater weight to primary elections later in the year.

“Indiana could potentially be one of the states that crowns our nominee come May 8th,” Seat says.

But Indiana University political science professor Margie Hershey says that’s a double-edged sword for party leaders, who must advocate for voter turnout but must also listen to the Indiana Republicans with the most clout.

“They are not primarily cheerleaders for democracy overall,” Hershey says. “What their job is, is to make sure that their state party’s interests are listened to. And that state party’s interests include the state party leaders, the state party activists – those who are most loyal to the party.”

Hershey says if parties – state Democrats four years ago and the Indiana GOP this year — suggest too many people on the fringes of the political process have a voice, they run the risk of losing their influence.

“The best way to do that is not to encourage lots of marginal Republicans and non-Republicans to come out and have a voice in the party’s candidate,” she says.

She notes it is possible for Hoosiers of all political affiliations to cast GOP primary ballots and affect races run by a party to which they do not belong, adding voter turnout may be more important to the Senate race between incumbent Senator Richard Lugar and State Treasurer Richard Mourdock than to the presidential candidates.

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