By Derreck Stahly and Abrahm Hurt
INDIANAPOLIS — As Eric Holcomb walked off the stage after his victory speech, Hoosier supporters chanted, “Eric, Eric, Eric.”
In just 100 days, Holcomb managed to rally enough support to pull off a huge come-from-behind victory. Holcomb was thrown into the governor’s race in mid-July when Gov. Mike Pence became Donald Trump’s running mate.
“When we kicked this thing off, you heard what I heard,” Holcomb said. “You heard Holcomb can’t raise enough money, Holcomb can’t put together a credible statewide campaign in this short amount of time, Holcomb can’t do that and they were partly right, Holcomb can’t do it — but we did.”
This is the first time Holcomb has been elected to an office. Pence nominated Holcomb to be his lieutenant governor in February after then-Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann announced her plans to resign.
Before joining Pence’s administration, Holcomb worked with former Gov. Mitch Daniels as deputy chief of staff and served as the Chairman of the Indiana State Republican Party. He also served as the Chief of Staff for Republican Sen. Dan Coats.
During his speech, Holcomb thanked his opponent, Democrat John Gregg, for putting himself forward in public service and engaging in civil debates. Gregg, while disappointed after his defeat, urged Hoosier Democrats to continue to work toward a better Indiana.
“This has been a wacky ride in politics this year,” said Gregg. “So much has divided our nation and divided our state. I think tonight is the night we start and let this point be a point where we all move closer together.”
Governor elect, Republican Eric Holcomb, celebrates his victory with his running mate, Suzanne Crouch. Photo by Eddie Drews, TheStatehouseFile.com
After strong showings in the polls, Gregg for the second time in a row failed to gain the support and votes to put him in the governor’s office. Gregg ran against Pence four years ago.
“We did our homework,” Christina Hale, Gregg’s running mate, said. “We made plans. We were endorsed from Lake Michigan down to the river and back and forth again. Everyone saw that we were the prepared campaign ready to lead. I’m so sorry that wasn’t reflected in the vote.”
With his new position, Holcomb said he is ready to start working for Indiana tomorrow, not just when he takes office as governor in January. Holcomb is excited to add to the legacy of the Republican governors before him.
“Mitch Daniels built a foundation,” said Holcomb. “Mike Pence added a couple stories, and Susan Crouch and I are going to add story, after story, after story as we take Indiana to the next level.”
Derreck Stahly and Abrahm Hurt reporters for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.