|Lt. .Governor Eric Holcomb|
All four gubernatorial candidates running to replace Mike Pence on the ballot stood behind Indiana’s Republican Party Chairman, Jeff Cardwell. Three of the four knew their candidacy was over, but, for the fourth, it’s just about to really begin.
It took multiple ballots, but the Indiana Republican Party Central Committee nominated Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb as their nominee for Governor of Indiana. The former GOP Party Chair, Mitch Daniels staffer and behind-the-scenes political operative outlasted the other three candidates on the ballot: Susan Brooks, Todd Rokita and Jim Tomes. We’ll find out August 1 who will replace Holcomb as the GOP’s candidate for Lieutenant Governor.
What a whirlwind 2016 it’s been for Holcomb. In February, he exited the race for Indiana’s U.S. Senate seat after disappointing fundraising and a general lack of support dogged his run. A month later, he was being sworn in as Indiana’s 51st Lieutenant Governor when Sue Ellspermann moved on to become President of Ivy Tech after rumored disagreements with the Pence Administration. When Donald Trump plucked Mike Pence to be his Vice Presidential nominee, a slot opened up on the ballot for Governor.
Holcomb worked quickly to shore up support. He sent a letter to the Central Committee promising Pence would back him financially and with an endorsement. Pence delivered on his promise…at least with the endorsement, and we will see if he puts the check in the mail.
A long time ago, a former Indiana Democratic Party Chair told me that being a party chair is typically a disqualifier to run for public office. We'll see if the deals and machinations cooked up back under Holcomb comes back to hurt him.
John Gregg arrives on the other end fairly in the same place he was before. There are tons of places he can attack Holcomb. If I were him, I would try to quickly define Holcomb as Mike Pence's best friend before Holcomb has a chance to get his organization underneath him. I'd go right after him with no honeymoon period. We're already hearing Gregg pivot.
Today, Gregg was on TV saying he wanted to "serve" as Governor and that Holcomb wanted to only "be" Governor.