INDIANAPOLIS  – As covered in Parts 1 and 2, from Indiana’s founding in 1816 until the “Black Day” of the General Assembly in 1887, the lieutenant governor served as the State Senate’s true presiding officer with the Senate president “pro tempore,” or pro tem, infrequently playing a bit, ceremonial role.
 
When Republican Pro Tem Isaac P. Gray used his limited power and political cunning to essentially trick Democrats into ratifying the 15th Amendment, he made lifelong enemies in the Senate Democratic caucus. That didn’t change, even after he became a Democrat himself and was elected governor. Gray’s 1886 bid for the U.S. Senate, an office, at the time, selected by the state legislature, not the Hoosier electorate, led to an escalating political chess match between the Democratic governor and his rivals in the Democrat-controlled State Senate that culminated in the physical beating of a Republican lieutenant governor on the Senate floor and the ensuing Statehouse riot that lasted for four hours.
 
Ultimately, Gray would not only lose his Senate race, he would lose his political career: He earned the nickname “Sisyphus on the Wabash” after being nominated for vice president at the Democratic National Convention in 1888 and 1892, losing the floor vote both times after stories of his “Black Day” involvement were told. The 1887 riot had greater national implications than just a Hoosier also-ran at a party convention: It built momentum behind the nascent countrywide movement to directly elect U.S. senators and led to a series of related U.S. House resolutions in the 1890’s and, ultimately, to ratification of the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1913, which took the election of U.S. senators away from state legislatures. 
 
The other bit of fallout from this ordeal is that from 1888 onward, the first matter of business each session for the State Senate majority was to elect a president pro tem to serve for the entire session. No longer would they wait for the lieutenant governor’s absence to spot-fill the position. The political pressure the majority party could exert on a lieutenant governor regarding committee assignments and legislation was now acutely known. With the majority united behind a single member who served as spokesman for the party (and, more importantly, who easily could serve as presiding officer), lieutenant governors of the opposite party had little choice but to seek the input of the pro tem on matters of running the chamber or risk being denied a seat on the dais. Lieutenant governors of the same party had more leeway, but took input from the pro tem all the same for the sake of party unity. The lieutenant governor was still technically in control of the chamber, but the pro tems were asserting themselves for the first time.
 
This arrangement seemed to work well for the better part of the 20th Century, but the power balance was slowly shifting, especially when the pro tem and lieutenant governor were from different parties.  Ironically, while lieutenant governors who belonged to the majority party ostensibly had more control, it was an intra-party fight between Republicans, coupled with some massive reforms to how Indiana state government operated, that ultimately proved to be the breaking point of this arrangement.
 
The 96th General Assembly that met in 1969 sent to the voters three constitutional amendments to begin reorganizing state government, one amendment for each branch. The legislative branch amendment would allow the General Assembly to meet annually instead of every other year, with a “long session” in odd-numbered years so that the state budget could be completed, and a “short session” in even-numbered years to keep up with modern demands. Unlikely as it may seem given the historic nature of potentially passing three constitutional amendments at once, perhaps the most consequential bill for the State Senate was that year’s budget.
 
Near the end of the session, Republican Lt. Gov. Dick Folz had to name conferees for the budget bill. Folz, a first-year rookie who had never served in the legislature, ignored the input of Pro Tem Allan Bloom and Finance Committee Chairman Joe Harrison and named his own conferees to the bill. This blatant disrespect for what was by now a long-standing tradition of pro tem prerogatives rubbed many senators the wrong way, chief among them Phil Gutman.
 
That summer, Gutman started making phone calls to his colleagues, teasing the idea of a concerted campaign to “let the Senate run the Senate.” Voters were on the verge of modernizing the legislature by adopting a constitutional amendment to allow annual sessions; perhaps the rules needed a bit of modernization as well, especially if the lieutenant governor wasn’t going to respect the traditions that accompanied them.
 
On Nov. 3, 1970, voters approved all three constitutional amendments, with the legislative branch amendment passing by a 14% margin. Two weeks later, on Nov. 16, Senate Republicans met to choose their first leader of this new era. Gutman had spent a year and a half rounding up colleagues for his pro tem race with the slogan “Take Back the Senate.”
 
But, it wasn’t a message embraced by all; his opponent was Les Duvall, who ran in part to defend the honor of Lt. Gov. Folz, and probably felt compelled to do so since he was one of the two Republican budget conferees Folz had appointed that led to the showdown. When the dust settled, Gutman bested Duvall by a single vote, 15-14.
 
At a Senate caucus a week later, Gutman made good on his campaign pledge, introducing a new set of Senate rules that stripped the lieutenant governor of all his powers save those granted by the Constitution: He could preside over session and cast tie-breaking votes. It was now officially a ceremonial position as far as the legislature was concerned, consolidating all meaningful power in the chamber with the pro tem.
 
But, the humbling of the office was not yet complete. With no real legislative responsibilities left to speak of, some saw no need for the position to be elected on its own, so the 97th General Assembly passed yet another constitutional amendment requiring the lieutenant governor to serve as a true running mate to the governor. The 98th General Assembly concurred and voters approved the measure in 1974. In the span of just four years, the lieutenant governorship lost its legislative duties and then lost its independent spot on the ballot.
 
Perhaps the greatest irony in the whole affair was this: In addition to Duvall, the other Republican budget conferee that Folz had selected was Bob Orr. As a result of that one move by Folz, Orr would become the first lieutenant governor never to have true legislative authority when he was elected in 1972, and Orr would become the first lieutenant governor forced to run on a joint ticket in 1976. (It is worth noting, however, that Orr, with the necessary support of his superior Gov. Otis Bowen, and through his own gubernatorial support of John Mutz, transformed the lieutenant governor’s office into the modern administrative workhorse it is today.)
 
The first decade of this new arrangement saw three pro tems breeze through. Gutman retired from the legislature after six years in the post. Bob Fair, the only Democrat to serve as a modern pro tem, lost the support of his own party just months into the job after he was viewed as being too soft on Gov. Bowen’s budget (one Democratic committee chair gave a floor speech in which he called his own pro tem “arrogant ... pompous and sanctimonious”; he only stopped when a Senate Republican, John Mutz, invoked Senate rules against impugning the motives of another senator). Martin “Chip” Edwards underscored the literal meaning of “pro tempore” by the end of his term, shuttled off to a federal prison sentence, having been indicted on bribery charges midway through his second year and convicted on multiple counts by year’s end.
 
It’s not surprising, then, that by 1980 many wondered if a mistake had been made. The new power structure seemed too unstable, too prone to legislative abuse, and too open to influence peddling (a fear further stoked in 1982, when an IRS investigation into Edwards also ensnared Gutman, who himself was convicted on two counts of extortion related to his time as pro tem).
 
But, little did anyone know that the election of Bob Garton in 1980 would bring about the longest period of stability the chamber has ever known, a stability that would continue even after he surprisingly lost his 2006 primary (normally a harbinger of chaos) and when David Long was chosen as his replacement.
 
Ditto for the advances in transparency both men have made, first as a response to the corruption scandals of Edwards and Gutman, and later as the state entered the era of the internet. And so in 2018, as people contemplate Long’s place in the annals of pro tem history upon his pending retirement, it’s notable that the widespread concerns of 1980 are gone. Far from a desire to go back to the old system, most observers today assume the current arrangement has always been the natural order of things. 

Foughty works for Indiana University’s communications office. He publishes at capitolandwashington.com