INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Secretary of State Holli Sullivan failed to get the Republican Party’s nomination to run in the fall election, losing to a challenger Saturday who has called for more voting restrictions and embraced former President Donald Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen.
GOP delegates nominated Diego Morales, who worked in the governor’s office when Mike Pence led the state. He overcame criticism about twice leaving jobs in the secretary of state office after being written up for poor work performance.
When asked by FOX59 why voters should now trust him to run the office, Morales responded, “You can ask all the delegates that I connected one-on-one with them. They saw my hard work. I’m the only candidate who has outworked everyone.”
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita was secretary of state when Morales was terminated from the office in 2009.
When asked about Morales, a spokesperson for Rokita sent a statement to FOX59 congratulating Morales on his nomination but did not comment on his employment in the secretary of state’s office.
Morales defeated Sullivan and another candidate, getting a majority of ballots during a second round of voting.
The secretary of state oversees statewide policies for elections, which are run by county officials.
Morales has called for cutting the state’s 28-day early voting period in half, requiring new voters to prove their U.S. citizenship when registering and creating an “election task force” to investigate “shenanigans.”
Sullivan, a former state lawmaker from Evansville, was appointed secretary of state in March 2021 by Gov. Eric Holcomb after Connie Lawson resigned after nine years to focus on her health and family.
Morales immigrated to the U.S. from Guatemala when he was in high school. He served in the National Guard before working in several state government roles.
“The main reason for me running is simply to give back, to contribute and to show my debt of gratitude,” Morales said Monday.
In November, Morales will face Destiny Scott Wells, an Indianapolis attorney and Army Reserve intelligence officer who ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Libertarian candidate Jeff Maurer will also be on the ballot.