By BRIAN A. HOWEY

INDIANAPOLIS - Gov. Mike Pence has nominated Auditor Tim Berry to chair the Indiana Republican Party, two sources are telling HPI.

Pence will recommend to the Indiana Republican Central Committee Berry, who is in his second term as auditor, when it meets on July 22 in Indianapolis to replace Eric Holcomb, who resigned to join the staff of U.S. Sen. Dan Coats.

He also named 6th CD Chairwoman Misty Hollis of Richmond as state vice chair. Former campaign manager Kyle Robertson was named executive director.

The selection is a critical one for Pence, who enters a key six-month period where he needs to build on his policy legacy, prepare the GOP for key mid-term elections next year, and either his own or a potential 2016 presidential bid.

"Having won four statewide elections, Tim Berry knows what it takes to run successful campaigns in Indiana," Pence said. "Tim is a cheerful leader who is well known throughout the state to Hoosier Republicans and will help our party grow as we work towards our goal of making Indiana 'the State that Works.'"

Reelected Indiana's 54th State Auditor in November of 2010, Berry serves as the Chief Financial Officer for the State of Indiana. Auditor Berry is a committed fiscal conservative who keeps taxpayers first in recognizing that they deserve a government that is equipped to do more with less. As Allen County Treasurer, Berry cut budget expenditures to the lowest cost per capita of any treasurer in Indiana. Under the leadership of Tim Berry, in late fall of 2009 Indiana successfully implemented a fully integrated financial system - the first of its kind for all of Indiana government, providing more efficient and transparent government operations. Additionally, Indiana's annual financial reports have received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting - the highest standard available - from the Government Finance Officers Association each year of Berry's tenure as State Auditor.

Prior to his election as State Auditor, Berry served two terms as Indiana's Treasurer. In that role, Berry earned a record $1.7 billion for Hoosier taxpayers through the prudent investment of state dollars. Berry led the effort to obtain favorable legislation providing tax incentives for families saving for college through the College Choice 529 plan.

Pence said of Hollis, "An enthusiastic personality combined with a commitment to doing the work needed behind the scenes to move our party forward, Misty Dees Hollis will continue to bring a servant's attitude to the Indiana Republican Party."

Former Wayne County Republican Party Chairman and current Vice Chair of the 6th Congressional District, Hollis currently serves as a Councilor at-large in the Richmond Common Council.

Pence said of Robertson, "Kyle Robertson served as my campaign manager and has directed my political operations for over three and a half years. Kyle is a seasoned political strategist who has directed several successful campaigns in over a dozen states from local, state, congressional and all the way up to the gubernatorial level."

Pence and the GOP's biggest headache is the potential 2014 auditor candidacy of Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who is looking for an office to run for and needs to retire a $200,000 personal debt to his self-immolated U.S. Senate campaign.

Berry solves all sorts of problems. He is popular with the GOP faithful after four cycles on the state ticket as treasurer and auditor, comes from Fort Wayne which satisfies the anti-Indianapolis outer edges of the party (they've always been there). It would give Pence the option of picking a successor to Berry (most believe it would be Fishers attorney and banker Cecelia Coble giving the party a key statewide Latino presence), thus solving his 2014 Mourdock problem.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) said, “I think the selection is a rock solid choice for Governor Pence and the Indiana Republican Party. I’ve known Tim Berry for 25 years and he’s extremely competent, well-spoken and understands the Indiana political landscape as well as anyone I know. He’ll be an excellent Chairman.”

House Speaker Brian Bosma added, "Outgoing Republican Chairman Eric Holcomb has left big shoes to fill, but Tim Berry is a great choice to lead our party forward.  Tim has a proven track record as a respected statewide leader and is deeply committed to public service and our party’s values.  The Indiana GOP will be in great hands with Tim Berry as Chair and Misty Hollis as Vice-Chair.  I look forward to working closely with both of them.”

“Tim Berry and Misty Hollis are outstanding choices to lead the Indiana Republican Party," said Anne Hathaway, considered one of the chair and RNC contenders. "I look forward to helping them and Governor Pence continue to move our party, state and country forward.”

Jennifer Hallowell, another contender for chair, reacted to the selection, saying on Twitter, "Congratulations to my friend @indgop Chair @BerryforIndiana - Let me know if you want to recreate the 2002 bus tour.

Many observers believe that Mourdock's implosion in his Senate debate with Joe Donnelly in New Albany almost cost Pence the election. That's when Mourdock made his "God intends" rape remark. Pence initially called on Mourdock to apologize, then rallied around him on the campaign trail.

In the September 2012 Howey/DePauw Indiana Battleground Poll conducted by Christine Matthews and Fred Yang, Pence was leading women 46%-33%. As Matthews observed after the election, “He basically never improved upon that.”

In the October Howey/DePauw poll, Pence and Gregg were tied among women at 42%. And when the votes were counted on Election Night, Pence had lost the female vote by a stunning 52-47%, perhaps the most surprising demographic shift of the 2012 cycle.

This led to speculation that Pence might select a female chair. But his selection of Berry will likely keep Mourdock off the 2014 ticket, and pave the way for Coble, who would join Secretary of State Connie Lawson on the ballot.

Developing . . . .