Gov. Mike Pence nominated a top adviser Thursday to become Indiana's Republican chairman, shaking up the state party as he weighs whether to enter the presidential race or concentrate on a re-election bid.
If confirmed by the state's GOP committee, Jeff Cardwell would replace Tim Berry, who resigned Thursday without giving a reason. With Berry serving as chairman, Republicans in November added to their majorities in the state House and Senate and easily won statewide races for secretary of state, treasurer and auditor.
Berry was in the middle of his second term as state auditor when Pence picked him as the GOP chairman in July 2013.
"Tim Berry has done an outstanding job as chairman of the Indiana Republican Party," Pence said in a written statement. "His leadership was vital to the impressive gains we made in the 2014 elections."
Cardwell was an Indianapolis City-County Council member from 2008 until early 2013, when he joined the Pence administration as a senior adviser to the governor and director of the state's Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives.
Cardwell would take over the state party as it is preparing for this year's city elections, during which Republicans will be trying to maintain their advantage in mayoral offices, including those in Indianapolis and Evansville.
Pence has said he'll decide after the legislative session ends in late April whether to enter the Republican presidential race.
Berry won elections as state auditor in 2006 and 2010 after serving eight years as state treasurer. He said he'll remain with the state party through April to assist with the transition.
"As a former city-county councilman, Jeff will bring a local grassroots perspective that will be invaluable," Berry said in a statement. "I'm confident he will lead our strong team and work hard to support our Republican candidates — especially as we head into this year's important municipal elections."