INDIANAPOLIS - At new Gov. Mike Pence’s urging, Eric Holcomb is set to stay on as the Indiana Republican Party’s chairman.
The long-time aide to former Gov. Mitch Daniels said he decided to keep the job he’s held for two years – as long as he’s approved, as expected, by the state GOP’s central committee in March – after Pence asked him to do so during a recent meeting.
Holcomb plans to use the role to oversee a new set of technology upgrades and outreach efforts for a party that already holds most of Indiana’s state offices and congressional seats, he told the Courier & Press.
“I’m very excited about getting out of Indianapolis and out around the state a lot more than I’ve been able to the last couple years – not just reaching out, but actually engaging and building relationships in some areas we haven’t in the recent past,” he said.
Pence urged members of the state GOP’s central committee to back Holcomb in a message sent to each member of that committee on Friday.
“I asked Eric to remain at the helm of the Indiana Republican State Party because I have confidence in his integrity and the success that you and our entire Republican team have had under his leadership,” Pence wrote.
“In a word, I believe that under Chairman Holcomb's leadership, we can take our state party from good to great.”
Holcomb said he and Pence are “mutually excited about the rock-solid foundation” that the GOP has in place now – including control of the governor’s office, seven of state’s nine congressional seats and more than two-thirds of the seats in both the Indiana House and Senate.
He said he views 2013 as critical because it’s a year state party officials can work without looming elections fully diverting their focus.
“In a four-year cycle, I think the off year is probably the most important – one that can be squandered easily because you just get busy,” he said.
He said he’ll spend his time cultivating networks of young professionals who are galvanized by the nation’s debt, and also traveling to urban areas that haven’t received as much attention from Indiana Republicans as Holcomb believes they should.
“We’re going to be more methodical about covering the whole state – and not just me, but the whole team,” he said.
Holcomb also said the state GOP will overhaul its website with the goal of more directly engaging supporters who are interested in specific issues or areas – and that other election-related technological upgrades are planned.
Holcomb will keep his job as his counterpart, Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker, prepares to leave after eight years.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly has recommended John Zody, a former chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Baron Hill and regional campaign aide for President Barack Obama’s re-election effort, to replace Parker.