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Pence as VP Leaves Indiana Gov. Race Wide Open

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Pence, Trump. (AP)

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Friday, 15 Jul 2016 08:00 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Now that Mike Pence has officially been named Donald Trump’s running mate, he must drop out of the Indiana governor race — resulting in chaos for the Hoosier State.

That's because despite Pence's wide popularity in the state, he holds only a thin lead over his opponent, former Democratic House Speaker John Gregg — 49 to 45 percent, according to a WTHR/Howey Politics poll among likely voters statewide.

On Friday, July 15, the last day Pence can take his name off the ballot, the governor will have to file papers ending his candidacy for re-election.

Here the situation grows complicated. Pence’s replacement on the ballot will be selected by a  “Gang of 22”— the 22 members of Indiana’s Republican State Executive Committee.

Despite the tension, Brenda Goff, a member of the committee and delegate to the Republican National Convention told me she was optimistic: “We have 30 days to select a new nominee, and, fortunately, we have a very large bench of Hoosier Republicans.”

The choice gets complicated in the race for governor, however. No sooner, in fact, had word spread Thursday that Pence was Trump’s choice than two of the state’s GOP U.S. Representatives signaled they were dropping their own bids for re-election to seek the nomination for governor.  Reps. Todd Rokita and Susan Brooks are both considered strong conservatives and both have served three terms in Congress.

Rokita, however, has an advantage in that prior to coming to Congress, he served two terms as Indiana’s secretary of state and is better connected within the party than Brooks (whose first elective office was Congress).

Also making it clear he wants to run for governor is state House Speaker Brian Bosma. As the architect of his party’s capture of the House in 2010, Bosma is also well-connected and well-liked in GOP circles.

Rounding out the field is Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb, who, simply by virtue of his position, should be the heir apparent to Pence. But Holcomb, a former state chairman and political “eyes and ears” for former GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels, is considered far more moderate than Pence. Earlier this year, he abandoned a bid for the U.S. Senate nomination after having difficulty raising money against two more conservative opponents.

Not since 1952 has a sitting governor who has already been renominated by his party had to reject that nomination because he was selected for a position on the national ticket. That was Adlai Stevenson, who was drafted for president by Democrats in 1952 and was thus forced to resign the Democratic nomination for a second term as governor of Illinois.

A group of state Democratic leaders in the Prairie State subsequently selected Stevenson’s closely ally, Lt. Gov. Sherwood Dixon, to replace him on the gubernatorial ballot. Dixon subsequently lost that fall to Republican William Stratton, as Stevenson was losing the presidency to Dwight Eisenhower.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
 

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If Mike Pence is officially named Donald Trump’s running mate, that would mean he would drop out of the Indiana governor race — resulting in chaos for the Hoosier State.
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2016-00-15
Friday, 15 Jul 2016 08:00 AM
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