In a vote of 92 district GOP precinct committeemen from Hendricks and Putnam counties, Miller defeated Kelli Waggoner, president of the Indianapolis firm KWK Management Group, by a 51-41 vote on the seventh and final ballot.
Miller, the 4th congressional district Republican chairman and former Hendricks County GOP chairman, is currently employed by the Indiana Office of Management and Budget.
Originally 10 candidates sought to succeed Lawson, whose term will be up at the end of 2012. She vacated the seat after being named Indiana secretary of state by Gov. Mitch Daniels when Charlie White was forced out of office after being convicted of voter fraud.
Lawson had held the District 24 State Senate position for 16 years.
In the spirited contest to succeed her, Hendricks Regional Health CEO Dennis Dawes led the voting from the second through sixth rounds on Saturday with 20 votes. Dawes then decided to drop out to help break the stalemate and force a resolution to the voting process.
Others competing for the Senate seat were Dave Fuhrman, Putnam County councilman; Jeff Baldwin, Danville attorney; Nancy Marsh, Hendricks County treasurer; Brent Pittman of Brownsburg; P.J. Steffen, Rolls-Royce chief project engineer and former 4th congressional district candidate; Eric Wathen, Hendricks County commissioner; and Kim Woodward, Avon School Board president.
Because the deadline to withdraw Lawson's name from the ballot had passed, a second caucus will be conducted later this summer to replace her with another candidate on the ballot for the November election. The district configuration will also change at that point with fewer Putnam County precincts being part of District 24 and moving to District 37.
Despite Saturday's election, Miller also must run in that second caucus if he wants to retain the seat after Dec. 31.
"We congratulate Pete Miller on becoming Indiana's newest state senator," Indiana Republican Party State Chairman Eric Holcomb said in a statement. "As an active member of our party and in his community, Pete will be a great representative for District 24."