Indiana Republicans are jockeying for Mike Pence's job as governor
Pence is under consideration as Donald Trump's vice presidential nominee
Donald Trump hasn’t yet picked Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate – but already, Pence’s home-state Republicans are jockeying for his job.
If Trump chooses Pence, it will set off an already-brewing battle in Indiana to replace the governor in what’s expected to be a nail-biter this fall against Democrat John Gregg.
Behind the scenes, Pence’s allies are pointing to Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb as the man they’d like to replace Pence in the governor’s race.
But Holcomb, a former state party chairman and chief political adviser to popular former Gov. Mitch Daniels, has weaknesses: He’s never won elected office before and struggled to raise money during a short-lived 2016 Senate primary race. He was appointed to the lieutenant governor’s office this year after Sue Ellspermann stepped down to lead the Ivy Tech community college system.
So Pence’s will is largely being ignored by two other powerful Indiana Republicans – U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita and Bosma, the state’s House speaker.
Both told CNN on Tuesday that they’d enter the fray to replace Pence if he’s chosen by Trump, and several sources confirmed they’re making calls to key players in Hoosier politics.
Bosma, an Indianapolis Republican who has been responsible for shepherding most of Daniels’ and Pence’s top achievements through the legislature, said he’s the best candidate to build on the economic progress made under those governors.
“That would be my goal – to keep that record of accomplishment and improvement not just intact but growing,” he said in a phone interview.
Rokita, meanwhile, said Indiana needs “the strongest possible ticket” and touted his three House wins and two statewide victories as secretary of state.
“I intend to talk with my fellow Republicans about seeking the nomination for governor and about how we can ensure the 12 years of progress in our state continues,” he told CNN in a statement.
“I believe my conservative record of accomplishment as a two-term Indiana secretary of state and in the U.S. House offer a stark contrast to the policies of John Gregg,” he said. “Having won two competitive statewide elections by large margins, I believe we can unify Republicans around a campaign that can win in November.”
That several candidates are openly vying for a job Pence hasn’t left yet is remarkable – and, Indiana Republicans said, reflects the eagerness of many within the GOP there to see Pence leave a job they’ve long suspected he saw as a stepping stone to national office, and a confidence that he’s under serious consideration for the vice presidency.
The choice would be made by the state GOP’s central committee – includes allies of Holcomb, Bosma and Rokita.