By BRIAN A. HOWEY
- The Pence administration in transition presented a united front
Tuesday as Gov. Mike Pence announced Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann will
resign. He will elevate former U.S. Senate candidate Eric Holcomb to the
post. The three dispelled speculation of discord, as Pence was
effusive in his praise for Ellspermann. “Our current lieutenant governor
has done a phenomenal job serving Indiana,” Pence said.
Pence pivoted, saying, “Eric Holcomb has the character and experience to
serve as lieutenant governor.” He cited Holcomb’s role as
Republican Party chairman, deputy chief of staff to Gov. Mitch Daniels
and U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, as well as his service in the U.S. Navy. “He is
a man of faith, humility, integrity and optimism. It just takes a few
minutes of talking with him to know this is true. He has a heart for
Pence said he offered the job to Holcomb just
prior to Sunday’s Super Bowl. Holcomb said he pulled off the road while
campaigning for the U.S. Senate race near Burlington, Ind., and accepted.
“We talked for days, not months,” Holcomb said. Holcomb withdrew his
candidacy mid-day Monday, setting off speculation that he was about to
John Gregg, the presumed Democratic nominee seeking a rematch with Pence, reacted with campaign spokesman Jeff Harris saying. ”This is a direct reflection of the governor’s judgment and priorities. Mike Pence is shoving aside an accomplished businesswoman, who hasn’t always agreed with his radical ideology, in favor of a longtime political operative who will be in lock-step with him."
The timing of Ellspermann’s resignation will
be determined by discussions with House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate
President David Long. The General Assembly will have to confirm
Holcomb’s nomination, but it could come yet this month. The General
Assembly session ends on March 14.