Political Notebook

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White pursues Secretary of State bid

Marion County Clerk Beth White announced Monday she is seeking the Democratic nomination for Indiana Secretary of State in 2014.

"I want to bring balance back to state government," she said, noting her uphill battle. "This fight will not be easy and I know it."

The Democratic nominee will be chosen at the state convention.

Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson is seeking her first election to the post – she was appointed to the position by Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2012 when then-office holder and Republican Charlie White was convicted of several election-related felonies.

Charlie White won in 2010 despite a legal cloud over his candidacy.

Beth White said it's been 20 years since a Democrat has served in the office, but she believes the growing awareness of Republican voter suppression efforts around the country works to her benefit.

She specifically talked about the state's restrictive voter ID law, lack of flexibility in early and satellite voting and new voter registration rules that might discourage groups from registering Hoosiers to vote.

While clerk, Beth White has run 12 elections in the state's most populous county.

And Indiana Republican Party Chairman Tim Berry immediately jumped on her struggles.

"Beth White's tenure has been plagued with botched elections, understaffed polling places, ballots not being delivered on time and voters getting the wrong ballots. And now she wants a promotion?"Berry said in a release. "The Secretary of State's office is no place for Beth White's mismanagement and partisan political antics."

White responded by saying elections are a human endeavor and are never perfect.

"I did what's right. I stand by my record," she said.

Previously Beth White was a top aide to Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson and was a member of the Gov. Frank O'Bannon administration.

To contact Niki Kelly email her at nkelly@jg.net or follow her on Twitter @nkellyatJG.

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