I received several emails today asking me if I was surprised to learn that Indiana GOP State Chair Jim Kittle intends to resign. From the Indy Star report:
State Rep. Luke Messer, the Shelbyville Republican who recently announced his own decision to give up his post as the party's executive director, confirmed that Kittle has decided to give up his political post. A news conference will be held Friday afternoon at the GOP's downtown Indianapolis headquarters to formally announce Kittle's resignation and announce his replacement.
I am not surprised that he is resigning. I am only surprised by the timing.
I would have expected Kittle to wait a week or two at least after Governor Daniels' State of the State address for this action. That way, it could seem a little less like Kittle is running from the firestorm started by the Governor in suggesting that so many township and county offices by eliminated.
After all, the majority of Indiana counties and townships are Republican dominated. The Republican Party would sacrifice many hundreds of elected officials. If the internal war hasn't started already, it will soon. The Star also reported on the Governor's follow-up press conference, from this morning:
The plan also would change the way property is assessed for taxation, taking it out of the hands of 1,008 township officials and giving the responsibility instead to the state's 92 county assessors.
Asked whether this was a first step toward elimination of township government, Daniels said: "Let's just say it's a first step toward the extreme makeover that I spoke of last night of local government."
So, Kittle walks. He gets out while the getting's good. He can take credit for turning his party into a fundraising machine, earning legislative majorities in both houses, and electing a governor under his watch. Someone else who will be handpicked by, and puppet to the Governor, will get to spend their time as chair trying to put out fires inside the GOP's house.
I'll have comment on the elimination of township posts shortly.