State Auditor and Treasurer races on tap Nov 8

Two frequently overlooked statewide elected positions, Treasurer and Auditor, will appear on the November ballot this year, along with the higher-profile races for Congress and Secretary of State.

Both positions are largely administrative roles, with few differences between Republican and Democratic officeholders.

Treasurer Race

Over a dozen states allow their governors to appoint their Treasury leader and two states, New York and Texas, have folded Treasurer duties into comptroller (or auditor) positions. Twenty-six other states will also vote for their Treasurer candidates during this election cycle. Additionally, Utah will have a special election for Treasurer this year after a 2021 resignation.

Democrat Jessica McClellan and Republican Daniel Elliot are candidates for Indiana State Treasurer

Current Treasurer Kelly Mitchell is term limited and cannot campaign for a third term. This open seat prompted four Republicans across the state to compete for the nomination, with Morgan County’s Daniel Elliot narrowly clinching the win.

The office serves as the state’s chief investment officer and banker, serving on multiple boards and commissions.

In particular, the Treasurer chairs the Indiana Education Savings Authority, which administers the state’s education savings program that promotes financial planning for higher education. For rural or impoverished counties, the officer manages TrustINdiana, an investment pool, and chairs the Indiana Bond Bank, which assists municipalities with low-cost financing.

Republican nominee Elliot, then a county chairman for the Republican Party, previously made waves for his 2018 push to keep anti-gay language in the GOP platform that defined marriage as a union between a woman and a man.

Opposite Elliot, Monroe County Treasurer Jessica McClellan could be the first openly LGBTQ candidate elected to statewide office. McClellan, the Treasurer for Morgan County, incorporates ideas for helping unbanked and underbanked Hoosiers with financial services into her platform.

In their words

  • “I know that kind of stuff may not seem sexy to most but I just love it because you’re building your community. You’re helping that community grow and giving opportunities,” Elliott said.
  • “There’s a whole sector of people that we can help improve their lives,” McClellan said. “(With) involvement from the state level to make sure that the word gets out because this is something that’s needed.”

Auditor Race

Two dozen states elect their state auditors, otherwise known as comptrollers or controllers. Other states’ governors nominate someone who must be approved by the legislature or legislatures directly vote for someone to fill the office. Appointed auditors are frequently nonpartisan.

Incumbent Republican Tera Klutz, Democrat ZeNai Brooks and Libertarian John Schick are candidates for Indiana State Auditor

Incumbent State Auditor Tera Klutz, a Republican, will have two opponents this year, facing challenges from Democrat ZeNai Brooks and Libertarian John Schick.

The office includes five departments: Accounts Payable, Accounting and Reporting, Finance, Local Government and Payroll. The auditor has the responsibility to balance the state’s checkbook and pay state employees.

Additionally, the office oversees the state’s transparency portal, distributes school tax distributions and administers Indiana’s Deferred Compensation Plan, a retirement planning tool.

Both Klutz and Brooks are CPAs, with a background of audits in the public and private sectors, respectively. Schick, who works for an advisory firm that does data and analytics, advocates for reducing the government’s rules and regulations.

In their words

  • “I feel like with that local government experience, it was very vital for me to come in here,” Klutz said. “I tell people, the state auditor doesn’t audit the financial records of Indiana – we create the reports that get audited.”
  • “It’s not a job where we go in and try to catch people doing something wrong,” Brooks said. “I served as an auditor for mostly non-for-profit organizations over the past seven or eight years and it’s really coming alongside them as a partner and making sure they’re in compliance with their granting or regulations.”
  • “The people in the Senate and in Congress and the governor – who are all making decisions to spend money – all tend to be playing on the same team with the auditor,” Schick said. “People should consider that it’s probably best not to have the auditor on the same political party.”

To learn more about elections in Indiana, visit the Indiana Capital Chronicle’s Elections 2022 page, which contains resources, candidate information and relevant stories.

This story by Whitney Downard is republished from The Indiana Capital Chronicle, an independent, nonprofit news organization dedicated to giving Hoosiers a comprehensive look inside state government, policy and elections.