Scoop: Former Buttigieg aide Mike Schmuhl now likely to run for state chair

Schmuhl would provide fundraising and star power to a badly beleaguered state party.

Photo credit: Chuck Kennedy, Pete for America.

Mike Schmuhl, the former Pete for America campaign manager and longtime Hoosier political hand, is moving toward a surprise bid for Indiana Democratic Party chairman, according to multiple sources.

Schmuhl's candidacy would be a coup for Indiana Democrats, who have not won statewide office since 2012. 

Schmuhl would provide both fundraising and star power to a badly beleaguered state party: He would bring access to a national fundraising network that raised nearly $100 million for his childhood friend's presidential campaign.

In November, the former Buttigieg aide said that he would not be a candidate for the job but added: "I will do everything I can to help our Indiana party gain strength and secure victories in the years ahead." Several prominent Indiana Democrats have been urging him to reconsider in recent weeks.

State Central Committee members have greeted Schmuhl’s newfound interest with enthusiasm, according to several sources familiar with those conversations.

Schmuhl, a former producer at The Washington Post, has worked for former Sen. Joe Donnelly, Mel Hall, and State Sen. Shelli Yoder. He managed Buttigieg's 2011 mayoral campaign and later served as his first chief of staff. He is currently a director at Heartland Ventures, a Midwestern venture capital firm, where he works on brand development and investor relations.

Schmuhl was not immediately available for comment.

Former state lawmaker Karlee Macer has declared her candidacy, and others interested include the founder of the Indiana Federation of Democratic Women, Trish Whitcomb, who is expected to throw her hat in the ring on Wednesday.

Current chairman John Zody, who has been chair since 2013, announced he would not seek re-election after November's election. His final term ends in March.

This is a developing story.