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Democrat Destiny Wells concedes, Republican Diego Morales claims secretary of state win

Diego Morales speaks to reporters. Microphones surround him as he looks to the right. He is wearing a suit with a green, striped tie. Behind him is the emptying seats of the Indiana Republican State Party Convention.
Brandon Smith
IPB News
Diego Morales speaks to reporters on June 18, 2022 after successfully securing the Republican nomination for secretary of state. Morales’s campaign was dogged by controversy.

Republican Diego Morales made history Tuesday – he is the first Hispanic statewide elected official in Indiana history, winning the race for secretary of state.

The first-time office holder beat Democrat Destiny Wells and Libertarian Jeff Maurer.

Morales’s campaign had been dogged by controversy. He pushed the big lie about the 2020 election’s legitimacy and proposed more restrictions on early voting – both positions he then reversed during the race. There were questions about his military record. He’d been fired from the office he now leads at least once. And there were allegations of sexual misconduct and potential voter fraud.

But Morales was defiant in victory as he cruised to a comfortable win.

“The truth always prevail," Morales said. "Let me say that again – the truth always prevail, always.”

He also emphasized the historic importance of his win.

"This is America," Morales said. "This is why this country's so exceptional. You can be anything."

Democrat Destiny Wells’s concession speech was a call to continue to fight against efforts to “tear down our democracy.”

“Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, independents – all of us – we must fight together to strengthen and reinforce our electoral system,” Wells said. "Now it is upon you, Hoosiers, who will be charged with securing our elections, because our next secretary of state is going to need all of our help in a very big way."

Democrats haven’t won the secretary of state’s office since 1990.

This story has been updated.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.