By BRIAN A. HOWEY


INDIANAPOLIS - Republican Brian Roth filed for the Republican gubernatorial nomination by the noon Friday deadline, but in a campaign Facebook posting said he will await to see if secretary of state's office will qualify him. Roth posted on his personal Facebook page, "It might be over in the mind of Kyle Hupfer but options remain. We did fall short of collecting the required signatures."


That will certainly bring a challenge from a Hoosier Republican. Indiana Republican Chairman Kyle Hupfer, who doubles as Gov. Eric Holcomb's campaign manager, said Friday, "While Brian Roth came up short of collecting the necessary signatures to be on the May primary ballot, I appreciate the effort he and his supporters put in over the last few months to be active in our party. Although his signature collection effort was not successful and he will not be on the ballot in May, I am encouraged by Brian’s willingness to put himself in the public arena."


Campaign spokesman Jake Oakman told HPI Sunday morning, "The Secretary of state's office lists him as a candidate because he filed, but he wouldn't be able to sustain a challenge to the Election Board." Oakman said Roth is about 2,000 signatures short. "Someone could file with no signatures at all and they'd be on the ballot if no one challenged it."


Once Roth is dispatched, it sets up a showdown between Gov. Holcomb and Dr. Woody Myers, the only Democrat to qualify for the ballot. Businessman Josh Owens suspended his campaign late last week, endorsing Myers, who told the IBJ, “It’s a very different race when you don’t have a primary challenger. It just means you have to double down on your efforts in order to make sure you get the resources you need, the votes that you need, on and on.”


Holcomb starts the post-filing period with a $7 million cash advantage.