The ranks of leadership among Republicans at the Indiana Statehouse changed dramatically Friday.
Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock announced his resignation, four months before his term expires.
Then, House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) announced Rep. Eric Turner (R-Cicero) will no longer be part of the House GOP leadership team.
Mourdock's Tenure Questioned For Years
Mourdock was set to leave office at the end of the year, term-limited from running again. Instead, he resigns effective Friday to, in his words, “pursue other professional interests.”
The controversial Republican made headlines in 2012, first when he beat long-time incumbent Richard Lugar in the U.S. Senate primary. He then lost to Democrat Joe Donnelly in the fall after comments in a debate calling pregnancies resulting from rape a “something God intended.”
As Treasurer, Mourdock in 2009 filed a lawsuit to block the federal government’s bailout of Chrysler. Governor Mike Pence Friday announced that Daniel Huge, chief financial officer of the Indiana Finance Authority, will temporarily replace Mourdock.
Pence says Huge’s appointment is only to ensure continuity of service and that a permanent replacement, who will serve out the remainder of Mourdock’s term, will come later.
State Democratic Party Chair John Zody criticized the resignation, saying the GOP has turned statewide offices into a revolving door. Mourdock’s decision to step down comes just as public pension benefits are set to decrease, which has led to a significant uptick in public employee retirements.
Bosma Says Turner Should Have Stayed Away From Nursing Home Talks
Eric Turner and his son Zeke have significant financial stakes in the nursing home business. Zeke owns and runs nursing home management and construction companies, one of which Turner has financial interests in.
Speaker Bosma says Turner’s ties to the industry represents what he calls an “irreconcilable conflict” and that the Cicero Republican should have recused himself from all private GOP caucus discussions of a nursing home construction moratorium bill last session.
Bosma says the House Ethics Committee acted correctly earlier this year when it determined Turner didn’t technically violate any House rules, but that the investigation exposed gaps in the ethics law.
The Speaker says he plans to introduce a comprehensive ethics bill next session.
And while Bosma says calls for the embattled GOP lawmaker to resign mean nothing because the legislature won’t meet until after November’s election, he says, if reelected, Turner will not be a part of the Republican leadership team this fall. Turner has served as Speaker Pro Tem since 2010.