by Abdul-Hakim Shabazz
As the State Central Committee gets ready to pick the individual who will replace Mike Pence on the ballot, we thought it might be a good idea to visit the Governor’s thought process when it came to endorsing his Lt. Governor, Eric Holcomb, to replace him. While it seems pretty cut and dry that Pence would choose Holcomb to replace him there really are a lot more moving parts than you might think. We’ve been spending the last few days in our LNG (Legitimate News Guy) capacity trying to piece all this together. Here’s what we found talking to sources close to the Governor.
- Loyalty is very important to Pence. And you have to remember when Holcomb joined the team earlier this year, Pence was still reeling from the RFRA controversy as well as the LGBT rights issue. And if anything was uncertain, it was his re-election bid. Holcomb dropped out of the Senate race and decided to come to the Governor’s aid. And the Governor never forgot that.
- And he’s been helpful in bridging the gap between the Governor and the Mitch Daniels/Greg Ballard Republicans. At one event Holcomb helped raise $250,000 for Pence. And overall, he’s helped raise nearly a million for the Governor. So for those reasons, Pence feels he owes Holcomb a solid and will dedicate whatever time he has to get him elected.
- This has been another big issue. Both Todd Rokita and Susan Brooks have proven track records in winning elections. Rokita won twice statewide and both won very competitive primaries in order to get to Congress. Holcomb has never won an election. However, the Governor feels Holcomb can win. There are more than 30 events in the next month or so that Pence and Holcomb were scheduled to appear at, but now that will likely be Holcomb since Pence is now running for Vice-President. Also, with Pence out of town, Holcomb is acting Governor doing all the event Pence would be doing and getting all the media attention.
- Also, giving the Governor a boost is that polling over the last three months, our sources say, had Pence with a 4-6 point lead over Gregg and Holcomb was really helping Pence in the donut counties where the lead was growing by 6-9 points.
- The Governor also thinks Holcomb can help, or at last help mitigate, the Republicans’ relationships with unions due to the relationships he built during the days of Major Moves.
- We all know in politics that cash is king and Pence had $7.5 million in the bank. Well, when all the VP talk started weeks ago, Pence made a promise to Holcomb that he would help him in whatever way possible, financially. Also sources say at the very least Holcomb is entitled to about $1 million of that amount since he helped raise it as we mentioned above.
- And while everyone is correct that the RGA will help whoever is the candidate, Pence’s word carries a lot of weight with the organization on how those resources will be spent in Indiana.
Now of course at the end of the day the Governor will support whoever is the nominee. And he thinks all three candidates can beat John Gregg. It’s just when it comes to Holcomb, the Governor fully believes that since the Lt. Governor was with him when no one else was, the least he can do is help out someone who helped him. We’ll see if the State Central Committee thinks it was a good idea.
Abdul-Hakim Shabazz is the editor and publisher of IndyPolitics.Org.