(INDIANAPOLIS) — Evansville Representative Holli Sullivan is Indiana’s new secretary of state.
Governor Holcomb picked Sullivan to serve the final two years in the term of Connie Lawson.
Lawson announced her resignation last month, citing the strain of the coronavirus pandemic.
Holcomb says Sullivan’s work on the Elections Committee in four terms in the House “jumped off
the page.” Sullivan authored an election cybersecurity bill last year, and says beefing up those
defenses further will be a top focus.
Sullivan says she’s inheriting a tradition of “free, fair and secure” elections in Indiana. She says
she has “the utmost confidence” in how Indiana conducted the 2020 election. In an
introductory news conference, she turned aside an invitation to assess how other states handled
And Sullivan isn’t saying whether she’ll support loosening or tightening the rules on voting, a
debate raging from both directions in other states. She did take issue with a Senate-passed bill in
Indiana prohibiting the governor from changing the date of Indiana’s primary in an emergency, as
Holcomb did in consultation with Lawson last year. Sullivan says the extra month gave Indiana
time to make plans to conduct the vote safely.
Sullivan also declined to say whether she’ll seek a full term next year. She says “those decisions
and announcements” will come soon.
Lawson leaves office nine years to the day after Governor Mitch Daniels picked her to complete
the term of Charlie White, who was forced from office by a felony conviction. She departs as
Indiana’s longest-serving secretary of state, with five more days in the job than Indiana’s first
secretary of state, Robert New.
Sullivan’s appointment leaves a vacancy in the House. Republican precinct leaders in Vanderburgh
and Warrick Counties must hold a caucus to choose her replacement. Sullivan won reelection last
year with 64% of the vote, though House districts will be redrawn before next year’s election.
It’s the second time Sullivan’s been selected to replace a state officeholder. She won a caucus for
her House seat in 2014 after Suzanne Crouch, now lieutenant governor, was appointed to fill a
vacancy in the state auditor’s office.