New Ind. Dem chairman seeks rebuilding this year

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Sen. Joe Donnelly is now the leading figure in the Indiana Democratic Party and, as a result, his choice for state chairman took over this week.  

John Zody has worked for a mayor, a governor, a congressman, and was a part of President Obama's re-election campaign.

Despite his experience, Zody is not well known in Indiana political circles. When he sat down with reporters for the first time, he felt the need to explain some things. 

"I became a Democrat because I felt included," he said.

Zody replaces Dan Parker, taking over a party that had successes in 2012, most notably Donnelly's win in the Senate race, but there are challenges, beginning with the public perception of Indiana Democrats. 

"Our numbers may be small," he said, "but I don't think organizationally we're at a low at all."

The small numbers are most notable at the Statehouse where Democrats are in a super minority in both the Indiana House and the state Senate. 

House Minority Leader Scott Pelath looks to Zody to help change that. 

"You can never stray from the message," Pelath said. "It's about empowering the middle class and I think the chairman understands that."

And Zody displayed that he has some political skills. Though he says he has worked for moderates and a liberal, he declined to place a label on his own point of view. 

"You know, my job is to get Democrats elected," he said. "My personal opinion is not always relevant."

Zody has been elected to a four year term. He has more than a year to build the party before his first election in 2014.

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