INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb said he learned that Gov. Mike Pence would be the GOP vice presidential candidate when presumptive nominee Donald Trump tweeted it out shortly before 11 a.m. Friday.
Holcomb also said he did not inform or call his mentor, former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, to tell him that he would be entering the race to become the next governor.
If those statements are true, it illustrates the quick — but coordinated — decisions Indiana Republicans had to make after Pence officially withdrew his name from the governor’s race. Congresswoman Susan Brooks and Congressman Todd Rokita also entered the race to become Indiana’s next governor.
Brooks sent a proxy to file her paperwork with the state election office and issued this statement:
Governor Pence has been a strong conservative leader in Congress and in Indiana, and I applaud his selection as Mr. Trump’s running mate. Under his tenure, Indiana continues to be known as one of the best places to do business in the country, has maintained a balanced budget, and has seen its economy and Hoosier jobs grow. Fiscal responsibility, workforce development and business growth are all areas our nation needs to address, and Governor Pence brings an exceptionally strong record of all three to the table.
With Governor Pence’s selection, Indiana Republicans have the important task of choosing a new nominee for Governor with the experience and vision to continue the progress Indiana has had under the Daniels and Pence administrations. I have filed to withdraw from the General Election ballot for United States Representative to pursue the vacancy created by Governor Pence’s decision.
Both Rokita and Holcomb praised Pence as well, and attempted to downplay questions about if last year’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act might derail Trump’s presidential campaign or hurt Indiana Republicans this fall.
Asked if he was trying to separate himself from Pence, Holcomb said: “No, not at all. I was honored to answer the call when he asked me to join him. And I have worked very, very hard to help him and to compliment him in any way I could. I am very proud of my service with him. Now that we have been asked to run to become the vice president of the United States… I plan to seek the office of governor.”
Rokita said he doesn’t compare himself to Mike Pence. “I don’t compare myself to any other public servant. I compare myself to Todd Rokita — the job I did yesterday… We need to win in November,” Rokita said.
Rokita went on to say that he wants to focus on the economy and job creation during his campaign for governor. While he is a social conservative, he said some issues are best left to “churches and non-profits instead of the government.”
A state GOP selection committee has 30 days to fill the vacancy. The committee filed documents Friday indicating it would meet July 26 to determine the Republican gubernatorial nominee. If an outsider seeks to add his or her name, they need to notify the committee and state office 73 hours before the meeting.
Meanwhile, CNN is reporting that the Trump-Pence ticket may have started off on shaky ground.
The network reported that around midnight Friday morning, Trump was asking senior advisers if it were possible to get out of the deal with Pence. Not that he wanted to, per se, but just that Trump wanted to know what the optics of that might look like, CNN’s Dana Bash reported.
Several potential candidates have released statements saying they will not run for governor.
Evansville Mayor Winnecke said he would not run. He released the following statement:
“I am honored by all of the encouragement to run for Governor, but have no plans on entering the caucus. I am proud of the shining example that the City of Evansville has become for our great state and look forward to working closely with the next Governor of Indiana.” – Mayor Lloyd Winnecke
Brian Bosma also said he would not run.
He released a statement in part saying, “I congratulate my friend Mike Pence on the unique and high honor of being the Vice Presidential candidate on our party’s national ticket.”
Bosma said he appreciated all of the phone calls, but he will not seek the party’s nomination.
Susan Brooks has filed her paperwork for candidacy for governor. She also filed papers to withdraw from U.S. House of Rep. 20 minutes before the deadline, Congressman Todd Rokita also withdrew from his race.
24-Hour News 8’s Jim Shella said that this could become a domino effect with other candidates filling to withdraw from their race to apply for the new openings.
Below is the paperwork for the candidates who are withdrawing from their races to run for governor.