INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Former Indiana Republican Party chairman Eric Holcomb abruptly dropped out
of the state’s U.S. Senate race Monday, giving some breathing room to the
other two candidates in the crowded GOP primary field while hinting he may
have something else to announce soon.
“Today I withdrew
my name as a candidate for the United States Senate as (my wife) Janet and I
believe we have been called to serve our beloved state in a different
capacity,” Holcomb said in a statement.
Holcomb, who lagged
in fundraising behind sitting Indiana congressmen Marlin Stutzman and Todd
Young, filed paperwork to qualify for the ballot just 12 days ago.
departure and vague statement stirred speculation about what might come
next. Some political observers and state lawmakers raised the possibility
that he could be chosen as Republican Gov. Mike Pence’s running mate in the
coming November election.
“Sure looks like
Holcomb might be nominated to serve as Lt. Governor,” tweeted Rep. Dave.
Ober, R-Albion, who pointed to Holcomb’s statement that echoed the same
themes as Pence’s re-election campaign: transportation, education, jobs and
“record” economic investments.
“With more people
working today than ever before in our state’s history and record investments
in transportation and education, I couldn’t be more excited for all that
Hoosiers have accomplished and I look forward to announcing soon how I will
serve our state in the years to come,” Holcomb’s statement said.
In December, Pence
raised the possibility of splitting with his 2012 running mate, Lt. Gov. Sue
Ellspermann, saying she’d be an “ideal” candidate to take over the embattled
Ivy Tech Community College system, a position Ellspermann has said she is
Pence’s office did
not respond to an inquiry, and Holcomb’s spokesman Pete Seat declined to
leaves Stutzman and Young as the two Republican candidates for the seat
being given up by GOP Sen. Dan Coats. Former U.S. Rep. Baron Hill is the
only Democratic candidate for the Senate seat.
Holcomb started his
campaign last March with extensive Republican connections around the state
from his time as a top aide to both Coats and former Gov. Mitch Daniels.
Former Angie’s List
CEO Bill Oesterle had formed a super PAC called Frugal Hoosiers that he
intended to use to boost Holcomb’s chances. Oesterle worked alongside
Holcomb as a political aide to Daniels.
In a statement,
Young praised Holcomb, who he said “demonstrated a willingness and a desire
to tackle big problems by offering big solutions.”
“Eric’s voice is an
important one and I know he will continue to play a leading role in our
state and our party for many years to come,” he added.