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Tweeting state Sen. Delph stripped of leadership positions

Delph

INDIANAPOLIS – Senate President Pro Tem David Long has disciplined a fellow Republican senator who broke caucus rules by using Twitter to tell Hoosiers what would happen on the constitutional gay marriage ban.

Several reports indicate Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, met with Long and other leaders of the Republican caucus on Thursday and accepted his reprimand.

According to a Senate Republican spokeswoman, the punishment includes:

  • Moving Delph’s seat from the Republican side of the chamber to the Democrat side, away from most Republicans.
  • Loss of his leadership position as the Senate’s assistant majority floor leader of communications.
  • He will no longer be ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • He will no longer be assigned a press secretary for communication needs.
The trouble started Feb 13 when Senate Republicans met in caucus to decide whether to amend the constitutional marriage ban to include civil unions.

Before the bill was called on the floor, Delph tweeted that the second sentence was dead because there wasn’t enough support to restore it.

Long said this was a violation of caucus protocol by publicizing a caucus decision. The punishment is a result of this action, the spokeswoman said.

Over the weekend, Delph also engaged in an epic Twitter debate about same sex marriage.

Then on Monday Delph conducted a press conference where he criticized Long for controlling the process in such a way that the second sentence wasn’t added back in.

Long has said repeatedly the Senate Republican caucus made decisions on HJR3 – not just him.

House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath said Delph is a lifelong friend who would help clean out your garage if you asked him. The two were fraternity brothers in college.

“Mike understands that words have consequences and where you are really being what you believe is courageous that means you have to accept the consequences of that courage. If you’re not willing to accept the consequences it’s not courage.”

He also said Delph “is absolutely one of the people that makes Indiana politics semi-interesting.”

nkelly@jg.net

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