Fort Wayne has been chosen as the host of the Indiana Republican Party's state convention in 2014.
The party’s executive committee voted in favor of moving the convention out of Indianapolis next year. Allen County Republicans have been lobbying for the temporary switch to the downtown Grand Wayne Center for several months.
“We’re absolutely ecstatic,” local GOP Chairman Steve Shine said. “It is a great honor for the Allen County Republican Party, as well as for Allen County itself, to have been selected, and an acknowledgment that Fort Wayne is a key player as a top choice of convention venues in the Midwest.”
Shine said he was told the committee's ballot, taken in Indianapolis, was unanimous. A state GOP spokesman confirmed that Fort Wayne's bid had been approved but said the vote wasn't unanimous.
Tim Berry, the second-term state auditor from Fort Wayne who was elected state Republican chairman on Monday, said the vote was "near unanimous."
"Fort Wayne will have a state chairman and state convention next year," Berry said. "I do think it’s going to be a popular move. Initially some will question the change. But the host committee is excited, and I think the energy will spread and we will have a rejuvenated convention."
Shine said the site selection and Berry's election would be celebrated at 6 p.m. Monday at the local GOP’s golf outing and barbecue at Chestnut Hills Golf Club.
Grand Wayne Center was the site of the Democratic Party’s state convention in 2012. The Democrats' convention attracted an estimated 3,000 people to Fort Wayne, including 1,409 delegates.
The political party conventions are held in June. The parties next year will nominate candidates for Indiana secretary of state, auditor and treasurer.