Just four months ago, Eric Holcomb was sworn in as Indiana’s lieutenant governor.
On Tuesday, the 22-member Indiana Republican State Committee selected Holcomb to replace Gov. Mike Pence on the November ballot.
“This campaign now officially kicks into high gear. We cannot allow our state to slip and drift and go backwards to those days of debt,” Holcomb said at a news conference in Indianapolis shortly after his selection was made. “The only way that we continue Indiana’s progress is by joining together.”
Holcomb, who has never been elected to public office, beat out three other candidates, including two members of Congress; U.S. Reps. Susan Brooks and Todd Rokita, a native of Northwest Indiana. State Senator Jim Tomes also wanted to be the GOP’s candidate.
Holcomb will replace Pence on the ticket, who resigned earlier this month to become Donald Trump’s running mate.
Pence endorsed Holcomb to replace him.
Holcomb, 48, is the former head of Indiana’s Republican Party. He served eight years as a top aide and campaign manager to former Gov. Mitch Daniels.
In March, Holcomb took over as lieutenant governor after Sue Ellspermann resigned.
The committee spent most of Tuesday morning making its selection by secret ballot after presentations from each candidate at its Indianapolis offices.
“We are blessed to have such a deep bench of talent to pull from,” said Indiana Republican Party Chairman Jeff Cardwell. “Today we stand united and give our full support to Eric [Holcomb] as we race toward victory in November.”
Before he dropped out, Pence had been running a tight race against Democrat John Gregg.
Pence narrowly beat Gregg four years ago. ’
“Our message is going to stay the same. All of the candidates that are being mentioned (to replace Pence) take the same approach to job creation, social issues, public education as he did. They simply haven’t been working for Indiana’s working families,” Gregg told WBEZ earlier this month. “Pence bailed out because he didn’t want to lose.”
Michael Puente is WBEZ’s Northwest Indiana Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @MikePuenteNews.