INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indiana Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb will replace Mike Pence as the Republican candidate in November’s gubernatorial race.
A 22-member state GOP committee on Tuesday picked Holcomb over Congresswoman Susan Brooks, Congressman Todd Rokita, and State Senator Jim Tomes.
Now, Holcomb has less than four months to introduce himself to voters statewide.
Holcomb had also previously told members of the committee that because of the Pence endorsement he’d have Pence’s financial backing in his run. However, our partners at the Indianapolis Star report there might be federal limitations on the $7.4 million in Pence’s campaign funds, with the majority of that unavailable for Holcomb to use.
“The campaign now officially kicks into high gear,” said Holcomb earlier on Tuesday, “Some may say they’re going to see my name out there too much. We’ll obviously be working the state as I have over the last decade.”
Holcomb said he’s hitting the ground running in his quest for the governor’s seat, noting his time at various levels of government prepared him for the job.
“I’ve been at the table helping Governor Mitch Daniels and Governor Mike Pence. It’s been an honor to do both,” said Holcomb.
So who is Eric Holcomb?
He joined the Pence administration as Lieutenant Governor earlier this year, dropping out of a U.S. Senate race to do so. The Navy veteran served as Chief of Staff for Senator Dan Coats and chairman of the Indiana Republican Party. He also worked in various roles in the Mitch Daniels administration.
“I think his biggest challenge is going to be getting his name out there and introducing himself to Hoosier who aren’t a large part of the Republican apparatus in this state,” said Dr. Laura Albright, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Indianapolis.
Albright said the Holcomb pick makes sense but acknowledges tapping Congresswoman Susan Brooks to run for governor could’ve made for a more competitive race against Democrats John Gregg and Christina Hale.
“She would’ve obviously appealed to the donut counties, suburban voters as well as the women’s vote,” said Albright, “And those are two things that typically Pence has struggled with in the last few months.”
Talking to reporters at an event on Tuesday, Gregg wouldn’t speak directly to the selection of Holcomb, only saying the issues remain the same, and he’s always wanted to serve as Indiana’s governor.
“This race was never about running against Mike Pence. It was about those failed policies,” said Gregg, “I’m the one candidate that didn’t start out and hadn’t switched horses a couple of times along the race.”