Candidate for Indiana Democratic Party leader post drops bid


INDIANAPOLIS — One of the candidates to become the Indiana Democratic Party’s next leader has withdrawn, citing a family death.

The decision by Trish Whitcomb likely clears the way for Mike Schmuhl, who was Pete Buttigieg’s 2020 presidential campaign manager, to take over the state party with Saturday’s leadership vote.

Whitcomb said in a statement Monday that she made the decision with “deep sorrow” after her son unexpectedly died on Sunday.

Whitcomb was the manager of Democrat Glena Ritz’s successful 2012 campaign for state school superintendent and the daughter of former Republican Gov. Ed Whitcomb.

Schmuhl is being challenged by Tom Wallace of Martinsville, who was an unsuccessful state Senate candidate last year, in Saturday’s election by the state Democratic central committee.

The winner will replace state party Chairman John Zody, who announced in November he wouldn’t seek reelection to the position he’s held for eight years through devastating election losses for the party.

Schmuhl was Buttigieg’s chief of staff in the South Bend mayor’s office before Buttigieg launched his longshot presidential bid in 2019. Buttigieg outperformed expectations, finishing the Iowa Democratic caucuses in a virtual tie with Sen. Bernie Sanders, and has been confirmed as President Joe Biden’s transportation secretary.

No posts to display