Ellsperman out, Holcomb in as lieutenant governor

Tuesday, February 9, 2016
In a pair of moves announced Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann (right) stepped down from her post. Lt. Gov. Mike Pence announced former GOP State Chairman Eric Holcomb as his 2016 running mate and his nominee for lieutenant governor. Holcomb must be confirmed by the legislature before he can officially take office. Holcomb and Ellspermann both appeared in Putnam County for the annual Lincoln Day Dinner in April 2015. (Banner Graphic/ERIC BERNSEE)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann is stepping down from the state's No. 2 office and Gov. Mike Pence wants to replace her with a former state Republican Party chairman.

Pence announced Tuesday he's nominating Eric Holcomb as her replacement.

Ellspermann said she has applied for the open position of president of Ivy Tech Community College and that she'll soon be stepping down after an orderly transition.

Holcomb's nomination must be confirmed by the Republican-dominated Legislature for him to take office.

Pence said Holcomb would be his running mate for what is expected to be a tough election rematch in November with 2012 Democratic candidate John Gregg.

Tuesday's announcement comes a day after Holcomb ended his 11-month campaign for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring GOP Sen. Dan Coats.

Holcomb was a top governor's office aide and 2008 campaign manager for former Gov. Mitch Daniels before being tapped to lead the state GOP in 2011. Holcomb held that position until 2013, after which he became Coats' state chief of staff.

Pence said Holcomb's knowledge of state government has prepared him for the lieutenant governor's office.

"I'm very honored and privileged that he's stepping forward to serve at such a time as this in the life of our state," Pence said.

Pence first raised the possibility of splitting with Ellspermann in December, saying that his 2012 running mate would be an "ideal" candidate to become the new Ivy Tech president.

The last time a new lieutenant governor was selected in the middle of a term was in 2003 when Democratic Gov. Joe Kernan nominated Kathy Davis for the position a few weeks after the death of Gov. Frank O'Bannon. In the three gubernatorial elections since then, the Republican and Democratic tickets have included male and female candidates each time.

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