Mike Pence nominates Eric Holcomb for his running mate in 2016 gubernatorial race

(Photo Supplied/ State of Indiana)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): Former Indiana Republican Party chairman Eric Holcomb will be Gov. Mike Pence’s running mate in the 2016 election, replacing Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann.

“I have known Eric for nearly 20 years, and his integrity, character and experience make him uniquely qualified for this new role,” Pence said during a press conference announcing the decision on Tuesday afternoon. “He is a man of character and distinction and I am confident he will serve Hoosiers well as we continue our work to make Indiana a great place to live, work and raise a family.”

Ellspermann will resign sometime in the coming weeks to pursue a position as president of Ivy Tech Community College.

“It has been a special honor for me to serve alongside a great Governor and share in all that we have accomplished to benefit the people of Indiana,” Ellspermann said.

U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, a Republican from Indiana, said Pence’s decision to have Holcomb as his running mate was a “brilliant choice.”

“Eric is a solid conservative, who brings a wealth of experience gained through his decade of service to Governor Daniels, his leadership of the Indiana Republican Party and as my state chief of staff,” Coats said. “Eric is known and respected by Hoosiers throughout our state.”

John Gregg, a Democrat running for Indiana governor, criticized the move.

“This is a direct reflection of the governor’s judgment and priorities,” Gregg said in a statement. “Mike Pence is throwing aside an accomplished business woman, who hasn’t always agreed with his radical ideology, in favor of a longtime political operative who will be in a lock-step with him.”