While Bauer has painted his forced removal as a painful and embarrassing betrayal that will damage the Democrats' chances of holding steady in the Statehouse, Lawson and others involved with the matter say that's not true.
Lawson said the action was taken after several closed-door meetings with Bauer, including one last September when state Rep. Ed Delaney, a respected Indianapolis lawyer who rarely claims center-stage, pleaded with Bauer to unclench his tight hold on power.
Delaney and Lawson both believed that Bauer had lead them to becoming the "party of No" – offering objections and obstruction but no positive message of what it meant to be a Democrat. "I thought we needed to look outside the 'granite' " Delaney said, referring to the Statehouse which is built of stone. "I thought we needed to switch from defense to offense."
Delaney said Lawson is a leader who get them moving in that direction. "She's a modern moderate Democrat – concerned about people's welfare but also about public safety," Delaney said.
Lawson came into the job knowing it's temporary. After the November election, House Democrats will meet again to decide on a leader. Lawson isn't sure if she'll even stand for the job.
"I liked sitting in the back row," she said. "After we move a few more Democrats up, I'd like to get back there again."
Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org