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Three Republicans Seek Treasurer Nomination at State Convention

Delegates to choose nominee Saturday in Fort Wayne

Republicans pick their nominee for Indiana treasurer Saturday at their state convention in Fort Wayne.

The three GOP candidates all argue their own resumes offer the best credentials for the job. Former congressional hopeful Don Bates says his experience as a financial adviser in Richmond makes him best qualified for the treasurer's central responsibility of investing the state's money. Wayne Seybold, who like Bates lost a bid for Congress in 2012, says his three terms as mayor of Marion give him both executive experience and firsthand knowledge of what local government officials need from the treasurer's office. And Kelly Mitchell emphasizes she's the only one of the three who's worked in the treasurer's office itself, with seven years running the TrustINdiana investment pool for local governments.

The race has overtones of the duel between establishment and Tea Party Republicans, with former Senator Richard Lugar and three former state party chairmen endorsing Seybold, while two Tea Party groups and 16 county and district chairmen have backed Bates. The candidates themselves seek to downplay the notion of a factional fight at the convention. Seybold argues he's demonstrated his conservative credentials by cutting city spending, while Bates says the party can't afford to go into the November election divided. He says his investment experience has attracted support from delegates of all stripes.

Incumbent Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who unseated Lugar in the Republican primary in 2012 with Tea Party support, is barred from seeking a third term.

The fight for the nomination is Republicans' first contested convention since 2008, when Greg Zoeller outpolled Valparaiso Mayor William Costas en route to becoming Indiana attorney general. Bates and Seybold say they "feel good about where [they] are," but aren't claiming a majority yet. Mitchell says there's no way to know until the votes are cast.

1,654 delegates are eligible to vote. The candidates will have two ballots to try to command a majority of those voting. If that doesn't happen, whoever's in last place will be dropped from the ballot before a third and final round of voting. The winner will face Democrat Mike Boland, a former Illinois state representative who moved to Fishers in 2012.

Secretary of State Connie Lawson and Auditor Suzanne Crouch are unopposed for nomination. Both are facing statewide voters for the first time after being appointed to fill vacancies.

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