When Newsweek runs a story about an Indiana race for Secretary of State, you know something unusual is happening. Even for Red Indiana, where our lawmakers routinely prostrate themselves before our most retrograde, frightened White Christian Nationalist voters, the outcome of the GOP contest to be the Secretary of State nominee was an embarrassment.
As the linked article reported,
Former Mike Pence aide Diego Morales’ shocking victory in the Indiana secretary of state Republican primary is the latest example of a candidate who backed Donald Trump’s false election claims that potentially could end up overseeing statewide policies for elections.
Morales, who beat incumbent Holli Sullivan following a second round of voting on Saturday, was previously quoted by the Associated Press as calling the 2020 election a “scam.”
Morales has been transparent about his desire to make voting more difficult: he has promised to cut early voting days before each election from 28 days to 14, and–echoing Trump’s xenophobia–to require new voters to prove their United States citizenship when registering.
The Indiana Republican Party on Saturday nominated a secretary of state candidate so broadly unacceptable that the selection must be setting some kind of record for political ineptitude.
Their choice, Diego Morales, once worked in the secretary of state’s office. That would normally be a good thing. Experience!
Except that, well, Morales got fired in 2009 over incompetence and a “lack of professionalism,” according to his personnel file. Morales disputes the record, as IndyStar’s Kaitlin Lange wrote, but his file doesn’t leave much ambiguity as to whether he met expectations in his job as a special assistant under Todd Rokita.
That wasn’t the only time: he reportedly rejoined the office in 2011 (why they would rehire someone whose work was previously so unsatisfactory is a mystery, but then, pretty much everything Todd Rokita does is politically motivated, so who knows) but soon, his supervisors tried to place him on a work improvement plan, citing “poor execution of required daily tasks” and “incomplete event planning and management.” He evidently resigned rather than sign the form.
So how did this nomination happen? According to Briggs,
For Republicans, nominating Morales was an unforced error made out of delegates’ spite for Gov. Eric Holcomb. Right-wing Republicans have been furious at Holcomb, a moderate, over his mask mandate and other COVID-19 restrictions, as well as not being forceful enough in pursuing issues important to the conservative base.
Many of those anti-Holcomb Republicans showed up Saturday to the Indiana State Fairgrounds among the 1,667 delegates who voted in the nominating convention to choose candidates for secretary of state, treasurer and auditor through a nominating convention. The delegates rebuked Holcomb by passing over Secretary of State Holli Sullivan, whom Holcomb appointed in 2021, and going with the anti-establishment choice.
According to Briggs, the Associated Press previously reported that Morales also embellished his resume and exaggerated the details of his business ownership.( He’s evidently what you’d call “a real piece of work.”)
The Democratic candidate for the office is Destiny Wells. I don’t know her personally, but I’ve heard positive things, and I absolutely loved her recent tweet: “When it’s easier to carry a gun than to vote, we have a problem.” Her website is here.
Asked what his victory over Sullivan meant, Morales answered, “I will say one word: Praise the Lord.” Morales, who accused Gov. Eric Holcomb of “abusing his power” during the COVID-19 pandemic, added, “The vision today is to keep that American dream alive. We must secure our elections … so we can increase voter confidence.”
Morales vowed to purge voter rolls, limit absentee ballots and allow voting only on Election Day. “No one in Indiana cemeteries will be allowed to vote,” Morales told GOP delegates. The problem with that is there is no evidence of dead Hoosiers voting…..
While Indiana isn’t a swing state and will almost certainly vote for a Republican presidential nominee in 2024, the notion of installing an election denier as the state’s top elections official is a dicey proposition.
It’s bad enough to live in a state governed by people who want to arm the entire population (okay, to be fair, just the White part), make LGBTQ+ folks second-class citizens, control women’s bodies, and make it easier for a pandemic to kill you. The last thing we need is a nutcase “Big Lie” proponent overseeing our elections.
Go to Destiny Wells website and send her some money. Then VOTE FOR HER.