INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Speculation is running rampant as to who will replace Governor Mike Pence on the gubernatorial ballot this fall considering Pence is likely Donald Trump's pick for a running mate. Local GOP strategist Pete Seat says ever since rumors began swirling of a possible Trump/Pence ticket, behind-the-scenes lobbying has been going on by Indiana Republicans who want Pence's job.
“People haven’t been very public about this out of respect to Governor Pence and the process," said Seat.
Several contenders are in the running for the job. Congressman Todd Rokita and Congresswoman Susan Brooks have both expressed interest in the position. In fact, Rokita released a statement Thursday evening announcing his intention to run for governor.
"After Governor Pence officially vacates his position on the ballot, Rep. Rokita plans to announce his intention to run to replace him as the Republican nominee. Having served all Hoosiers for two terms as Indiana Secretary of State and having won two competitive statewide elections, Rep. Rokita will begin the race with high statewide name identification, a statewide fundraising and grassroots network, and a record of executive leadership and legislative results Indiana Republicans can rally around to prevent John Gregg from taking Indiana backwards."
Brooks, also through a statement, says she has received encouragement to run, and she would consider doing so if Pence does end up being picked as Trump's running mate.
Other contenders include House Speaker Brian Bosma, Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, and former Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.
However, Seat says the likely front runner is current Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb.
"I think he’s best positioned for this, he has strong relationships with members of the state committee," said Seat.
By state law, the GOP has thirty days, which includes a ten day waiting period, to caucus and choose a new candidate once a current candidate removes his or her name from the ballot. Pence's deadline to remove his name from the ballot is July 15, 2016 at 12 p.m.
Former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels was also talked about as a potential replacement on the ballot. However, early Thursday Daniels put out a statement saying that he would neither seek the nomination on his own, nor accept it were it offered to him.