I never thought I would find myself comparing Mike Pence to Rod Blagojevich, but I don't know how else to interpret this development. Holcomb was offered a chance to become the state's lieutenant governor if he would drop his bid for the U.S. Senate. By dropping out of the Senate race, the establishment is able to ensure a three-way race won't allow a candidate like Marlin Stutzman, who is not liked by lobbyists and the Indiana Republican establishment, to win the Republican nomination. The establishment, particularly those beholden to the military/industrial complex, have settled on U.S. Rep. Todd Young as their standard bearer in this race. Young's campaign finance disclosure statements are the surest indication of that fact.
Federal prosecutors in Chicago indicted and prosecuted Rod Blagojevich for attempting a quid pro quo in picking Barack Obama's replacement in the Senate. Our Republican governor is trying to help the establishment determine our party's nominee for the Senate this year by using the lieutenant governor's office like a marketable commodity. At least Pence won't have to worry about a pesky federal prosecutor bringing criminal charges against him like Blagojevich since it's next to impossible for an establishment figure in this state to break a law that will land them in prison, let alone get a rise of our federal prosecutor. And the media won't complain about Pence's quid pro quo. They all love Eric Holcomb and will pat the governor on the back for making a wise decision since they're particularly fond of Republicans like Holcomb who have no ideological convictions. An approving article in this evening's online edition of The Star brings that point home:
Gov. Mike Pence is expected to name Eric Holcomb as his running mate during a press conference tomorrow, according to a Statehouse source familiar with the plan.
Holcomb, who withdrew from Indiana's U.S. Senate race Monday, would replace Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, who the Pence administration announced in December is seeking a job as president of Ivy Tech Community College.
Holcomb, who had been one of three Republican candidates vying to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, is a one-time Indiana Republican Party chairman and has been a top aide to Coats and former Gov. Mitch Daniels. He would bring a strong ground game to the governor’s re-election bid and provide him with a political attack dog in what is expected to be a tight race with Democrat John Gregg.
Neither Pence nor Holcomb would confirm the plans on Monday. A spokesman for the governor did not return messages and Holcomb’s campaign released only a two-paragraph statement several hours after he filed paperwork with the Indiana Secretary of State to end his campaign.
"Today I withdrew my name as a candidate for the United States Senate as Janet and I believe we have been called to serve our beloved state in a different capacity," Holcomb said in the statement, adding that he “looks forward to announcing soon how I will serve our state in the years to come.”The only thing left to happen is for Sen. Dan Coats to find some reason to resign his seat early so Pence can appoint Rep. Young outright to the Senate seat before voters ever get the opportunity to vote on their next senator.
Here's Holcomb's full statement on Pence's enticement to get him to drop his Senate bid:
“Today I withdrew my name as a candidate for the United States Senate as Janet and I believe we have been called to serve our beloved state in a different capacity. It has been a tremendous honor to serve Hoosiers as a member of the staffs of Governor Mitch Daniels, Senator Dan Coats and as Chairman of the Indiana Republican Party.
“Janet and I are grateful for the tremendous support we received from all over the State of Indiana during our campaign. With more people working today than ever before in our state’s history and record investments in transportation and education, I couldn’t be more excited for all that Hoosiers have accomplished and I look forward to announcing soon how I will serve our state in the years to come.”
Smart choice by @GovPenceIN to tap @HolcombForIN for LG. He has political savvy Pence badly needs; can soothe county GOP jitters; and ...— Mary Beth Schneider (@marybschneider) February 9, 2016
Pence picking Holcomb makes clear how much work the governor feels he needs to do to shore up support among Republicans.— Matthew Tully (@matthewltully) February 9, 2016