Profiles of the 3 main Indiana GOP governor candidates

(Photo Supplied/ State of Indiana)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP): Two members of Congress and Indiana’s lieutenant governor are vying to replace Mike Pence as the Republican candidate for governor after Donald Trump chose Pence as his vice presidential running mate. Here are short profiles of the three main candidates:


Brooks, 56, is in her second term representing Indiana’s 5th Congressional District, a heavily Republican area stretching from the northern suburbs of Indianapolis to the Marion area. She was first elected in 2012 after narrowly winning an eight-candidate Republican primary by positioning herself as a more moderate candidate. She easily defeated a tea party challenger in the 2014 primary.

Brooks is a lawyer who was a deputy mayor for Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith in the 1990s before being appointed the U.S. attorney for Indianapolis under President George W. Bush from 2001 until 2007.

She was picked by House Republican leaders last year as a member of the House Select Committee that investigated the attack on the U.S. consulate in on Benghazi, Libya.

Brooks is not well known around the state, but as a gubernatorial candidate she could appeal better to women and suburban Republicans who were wary of Pence’s conservative stances on social issues. Unsuccessful 2008 Democratic candidate Jill Long Thompson is the only woman who has been a major party nominee for governor.

Brooks and her husband, David, live in Carmel and have two children.


Holcomb, 48, became the state’s lieutenant governor in March, when he was picked by Pence for the positon after his 2012 running mate, Sue Ellspermann, resigned from office.

Holcomb is an experienced political operative as 2008 campaign manager and top aide for former GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels, who made him the state Republican Party chairman in 2011. He left that position in mid-2013 to become U.S. Sen. Dan Coats’ state chief of staff.

Holcomb’s connections to Pence and his political work for Daniels gives him strong ties with members of the Republican state committee who’ll pick the new candidate for governor. Holcomb, who has never won elected office, spent nearly a year running to replace Coats in the Senate but had little fundraising success before Pence tapped him for the Statehouse position.

Holcomb and Pence both attended southern Indiana’s Hanover College and were members of the same fraternity, though at different times. He served in the Navy after college.

He and his wife, Janet, live on the northwest side of Indianapolis.


Rokita, 46, was first elected to the U.S. House in 2010 after winning statewide elections in 2002 and 2006 as secretary of state. He represents the heavily Republican 4th Congressional District, which spans from the western Indianapolis suburbs to the Lafayette region and rural areas of northwestern Indiana.

Rokita gained attention this spring for sponsoring a bill to scale back the number of schools in which all students receive free or reduced-price meals and roll back some healthier school nutrition rules championed by first lady Michelle Obama. Rokita said the changes would help redirect money to other programs while ensuring that those with the highest need are still guaranteed meals. The bill has cleared a House committee and is pending before the full House.

When he was secretary of state, Rokita pitched a plan that would make it illegal to consider political data when redrawing legislative and congressional districts. Rokita’s aggressive push drew the ire of many legislative Republicans, which could hurt his chances of gaining support from the GOP state committee.

Rokita was a lawyer in the secretary of state’s office before beginning his career in elected positions.

He and his wife, Kathy, and their two young children live on the northwest side of Indianapolis.


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