Chesterton Tribune



Ex-GOP chairman Holcomb drops US Senate campaign

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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.

His sudden 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 interested in.

Pence’s office did not respond to an inquiry, and Holcomb’s spokesman Pete Seat declined to comment.

Holcomb’s decision 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.


Posted 2/9/2016




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