Eric Holcomb

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Eric Holcomb
Holcomb in 2021
51st Governor of Indiana
Assumed office
January 9, 2017
LieutenantSuzanne Crouch
Preceded byMike Pence
51st Lieutenant Governor of Indiana
In office
March 3, 2016 – January 9, 2017
GovernorMike Pence
Preceded bySue Ellspermann
Succeeded bySuzanne Crouch
Chair of the Indiana Republican Party
In office
January 3, 2011 – July 22, 2013
Preceded byJ. Murray Clark
Succeeded byTim Berry
Personal details
Eric Joseph Holcomb

(1968-05-02) May 2, 1968 (age 55)
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
SpouseJanet Holcomb
ResidenceGovernor's Residence
EducationHanover College (BA)
WebsiteGovernment website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service1990–1996

Eric Joseph Holcomb (born May 2, 1968)[1] is an American politician who has served since 2017 as the 51st governor of Indiana. A member of the Republican Party, he served as the 51st lieutenant governor of Indiana from 2016 to 2017 under Governor Mike Pence, who left the governorship in 2017 to become the vice president of the United States. Holcomb was nominated to fill the remainder of Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann's term after she resigned on March 2, 2016, to become president of Ivy Tech Community College.[2] He won the 2016 election for governor of Indiana over Democratic nominee John R. Gregg. Holcomb was reelected in 2020 over Democratic nominee Woody Myers and Libertarian nominee Donald Rainwater.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Holcomb was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He graduated from Pike High School in Indianapolis,[4] and in 1990 from Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana. At Hanover, he joined the fraternity Phi Gamma Delta[5] and served as chapter president. Holcomb served in the United States Navy for six years, first at Naval Station Great Lakes and later in Florida and Portugal.[6] He received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters Degree from Trine University on October 5, 2018,[7] an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Anderson University on May 11, 2019,[8] and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters Degree from Rose-Hulman on May 30, 2020.[9]

Early political career[edit]

Holcomb as Lieutenant governor of Indiana, 2016

Holcomb began working for John Hostettler, a member of the United States House of Representatives, in 1997.[10] In 2000, Holcomb ran for the Indiana House of Representatives against John Frenz, but was defeated.[4]

From 2003 to 2011, Holcomb served as an advisor to Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, eventually rising to the role of Deputy Chief of Staff,[11][12][13] and served as campaign manager for Daniels's 2008 gubernatorial campaign. He became Chairman of the Indiana Republican Party in 2011.[14] In 2013, he resigned to become the state chief of staff to U.S. Senator Dan Coats.[15][16] In March 2015 Coats announced that he would not run for reelection to the Senate in the 2016 election, and Holcomb announced his intention to run.[17] In February 2016, Holcomb withdrew from the Senate race.[18][19]

After Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann announced her resignation, Governor Mike Pence chose Holcomb to succeed her and to be his running mate in the 2016 gubernatorial election.[20] Holcomb was sworn in as lieutenant governor on March 3, 2016.[21]

Governor of Indiana[edit]



Results of the 2016 Indiana gubernatorial election; Holcomb won the counties in red.

Governor Mike Pence was running for reelection with Holcomb as his running mate in the spring and summer of 2016. By late June, rumors that Pence would be the Republican Party's nominee for vice president under presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump began to gain traction. In early July, Trump selected Pence as his running mate. Pence then withdrew from Indiana's gubernatorial election and Holcomb withdrew as the nominee for lieutenant governor. Holcomb decided to pursue the nomination for governor and was selected on the second ballot by the Indiana State Republican Central Committee, defeating Rep. Susan Brooks, Rep. Todd Rokita, and State Senator Jim Tomes.[22]

Holcomb chose Indiana State Auditor Suzanne Crouch as his running mate. They faced 2012 Democratic nominee and former Indiana House Speaker John R. Gregg and his running mate, State Representative Christina Hale. After an unprecedented 106-day campaign, Holcomb defeated Gregg, 51.4% to 45.4%. He ran slightly behind the Trump-Pence ticket, which carried Indiana with 56 percent of the vote.


Holcomb was reelected governor in 2020, defeating former state health commissioner Woody Myers with 57% of the vote. He received the most votes for governor in Indiana history.[23]

First term[edit]

After winning the election, Holcomb announced his agenda for the upcoming Indiana General Assembly legislative session. What Holcomb calls his “Next Level Agenda” is based on five “pillars”: strengthening and diversifying Indiana's economy, strengthening Indiana's infrastructure, strengthening education and workforce training, strengthening public health and attacking addiction and providing great government service at an exceptional value to taxpayers. He has said that civility is the foundation on which the other pillars are based.[24]

Holcomb's first act as governor was creating the office of drug prevention, treatment and enforcement and tasking that office with tackling the opioid crisis and other addiction issues in Indiana. Additionally, early in his first term, Holcomb pardoned Keith Cooper, who served eight years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of an armed robbery; declared a disaster emergency at the East Chicago Superfund Site; and ended contract discussions between the Indiana Finance Authority and Agile Networks to manage Indiana's communications infrastructure, including cell towers.[25]

Holcomb has made attracting international investment and opening more overseas markets for Hoosier-produced goods a priority. Since taking office, he has led 11 international economic development trips visiting with government, business, education, military and nonprofit leaders in the United Kingdom (as governor-elect), France, Hungary, Japan, India, Canada, Israel, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, South Korea and China. He has also visited Hoosier servicemen and women and members of the United States Diplomatic Corps serving overseas.[26]

Holcomb at a gubernatorial debate

Holcomb's international engagement strategy has resulted in foreign direct investment (FDI) into Indiana increasing 300% since 2017. In recognition of his efforts, the Indianapolis-based International Center named Holcomb its 2018 International Citizen of the Year.[27]

In April 2017, the Indiana legislature approved Holcomb's request for higher fuel taxes and BMV registration fees to fund infrastructure spending, primarily on road maintenance and construction. The law went into effect on July 1, 2017, and is projected to raise on average $1.2 billion per year through 2024.[28]

In the first quarter of 2019, the National Journal reported that Holcomb's reelection faced serious challenges. It ranked him number 10 on its endangered list, writing, "Holcomb is facing potential match-ups with former state health commissioner Woody Myers and state Senator Eddie Melton."[29] By the end of the second quarter, his approval rating had risen to 50%.[30]

In November 2019, the Center for Investigative Reporting reported that Holcomb had personally pressured an Indiana OSHA investigator to drop a worker fatality case against Amazon so that Indianapolis could have a better chance at being the home of Amazon's HQ2 (a major new office). His office denied the allegations, saying that he had not attended the meeting with the OSHA commissioner and investigator.[31] Holcomb also said the accusations against him would pose a threat to Indiana's "positive business climate" and demanded they be retracted.[32] Regardless of whether Holcomb was directly involved, OSHA eventually dropped the citations against Amazon's fulfillment center and the case was reclassified as one of "employee misconduct" rather than a shortfall in training and safety procedures.[31]

In July 2020, Attorney General Curtis Hill accused Holcomb of overstepping his authority by issuing a statewide face mask mandate with criminal penalties. Hill said that only the legislature has the power under the Indiana constitution to create laws.[33] Holcomb vetoed the laws passed in the special session, and the legislature overrode his vetoes. But on June 2, 2022, the Indiana Supreme Court sided with Holcomb. Citing the state constitution, the court found it was the legislature, not Holcomb, that had overstepped its authority. Chief Justice Loretta Rush wrote in the unanimous opinion, "Simply put, absent a constitutional amendment ... the General Assembly cannot do what HEA-1123 permits, ... our Constitution authorizes only the Governor to call a special session, the General Assembly can set additional sessions—but only by fixing their length and frequency in a law passed during a legislative session and presented to the Governor."[34]

Second term[edit]

Holcomb at his second inauguration

Holcomb was inaugurated to a second term on January 11, 2021.

In March 2022, Holcomb vetoed H.E.A. 1041, a bill passed by the Indiana General Assembly that would prohibit transgender women from participating in state-sanctioned girls' sports. He cited the bill's low probability of surviving judicial scrutiny and the lack of pressing concern as his reasons for vetoing it.[35] On May 24, the General Assembly overrode Holcomb's veto, passing the bill into law.[36] In the spring of 2023, Holcomb signed several anti-LGBTQ+ bills into law, including a bill that bans gender-affirming care for transgender minors,[37] a bill that requires that parents be immediately notified if a transgender student comes out to a teacher and prohibits discussions of "human sexuality" up to grade 3,[38] and a bill that bans gender-affirming surgery for inmates in Indiana Department of Corrections facilities.[39]

Holcomb called a special session shortly before the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe v. Wade in order to address tax rebates amid the early 2020s inflation surge. After Roe was overturned, the Indiana General Assembly passed a near-total ban on abortion procedures, allowing exceptions only in the case of rape up to 10 weeks into pregnancy and threat to the mother's life. Holcomb signed the bill, S.B. 1, into law. The ban on abortion procedures was blocked in court shortly after going into effect in September 2022. The Indiana Supreme Court ultimately allowed the ban to take effect in a June 30, 2023 ruling.[40]

In August 2022, Holcomb led a trade delegation to Taiwan in an effort to strengthen economic ties between Taiwan and Indiana. The delegation also visited South Korea. The visit came after several high-profile visits by U.S. officials to Taiwan, leading to increased tension between the U.S. and the People's Republic of China.[41]

Personal life[edit]

Holcomb's wife, Janet, runs a family business in Madison County, Indiana.[42] They have no children, and owned a miniature schnauzer, Henry Holcomb, who was known as the "First Dog of Indiana".[43]

In December 2022, Holcomb was hospitalized with a sudden case of pneumonia.[44]

Electoral history[edit]

Indiana gubernatorial election, 2016[45]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Eric Holcomb 1,397,396 51.38% +1.89%
Democratic John R. Gregg 1,235,503 45.42% -1.14%
Libertarian Rex Bell 87,025 3.20% -0.75%
Write-in 44 0.00% 0.00%
Total votes 2,719,968 100.00% N/A
Republican hold
Indiana gubernatorial election, 2020[46][47]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Eric Holcomb (incumbent) 1,706,739 56.51% +5.13%
Democratic Woody Myers 968,106 32.05% -13.37%
Libertarian Donald Rainwater 345,569 11.44% +8.24%
Total votes 3,020,414 100.00%
Republican hold


  1. ^ "Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb (R-Indiana) biography". Archived from the original on June 6, 2019. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  2. ^ Slodysko, Bryan (February 18, 2016). "Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann to resign March 2 in expected move". The Indianapolis Star. The Associated Press. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  3. ^ "Republican Holcomb wins reelection as Indiana governor". WISH-TV. November 4, 2020. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Cook, Tony; Schneider, Chelsea. "Meet the new lieutenant governor, Eric Holcomb". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  5. ^ "Phi Gamma Delta". Retrieved December 24, 2017.
  6. ^ "About Governor Eric J. Holcomb". February 24, 2023. Retrieved September 20, 2023./
  7. ^ "A night full of surprises celebrates Trine and its supporters". Trine University.
  8. ^ "AU Announces Speakers and Honorees for 2019 Graduation". Anderson University. Archived from the original on July 31, 2020. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  9. ^ "Honorary Degree Delivered to Indiana Gov. Holcomb". Rose-Hulman.
  10. ^ "Holcomb to serve as congressman's district director". The Brazil Times. February 18, 2003. Archived from the original on February 15, 2016. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
  11. ^ "A look at Indiana Gov.-elect Eric Holcomb". Associated Press. January 8, 2017. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  12. ^ "". State of Indiana.
  13. ^ "Tully: Can Eric Holcomb win the GOP Senate nomination?". Indianapolis Star. July 14, 2015. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
  14. ^ "Kellems drops bid for state GOP chair". Madison Courier. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
  15. ^ "Pence ally Cardwell replacing Berry as Indiana GOP chair". Indianapolis Star. March 11, 2015. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
  16. ^ "Coats Announces Eric Holcomb to Serve as State Chief of Staff". June 21, 2013. Archived from the original on December 3, 2016. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
  17. ^ Joseph, Cameron (March 26, 2015). "Chief of staff launches Senate bid for Coats's seat". The Hill. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  18. ^ "Eric Holcomb drops out of Indiana senate race". WRTV. February 8, 2016. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  19. ^ "Holcomb withdraws from U.S. Senate race". Retrieved February 11, 2016.
  20. ^ Peterson, Mark (February 9, 2016). "Indiana Lt. Governor Ellsperman plans to resign". WNDU-TV. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
  21. ^ "Eric Holcomb sworn in as lieutenant governor". FOX59. Associated Press. March 3, 2016. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  22. ^ "GOP chooses Eric Holcomb to replace Pence on ticket". New York Times. December 8, 2016. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  23. ^ "Governor Eric Holcomb wins reelection in Indiana; Myers, Rainwater bids fall short".
  24. ^ Carden, Dan (December 26, 2017). "Gov. Holcomb pledges civility will guide all his administration does". NWI Times. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  25. ^ File, Adrianna Pitrelli, The Statehouse (February 10, 2017). "Holcomb off to fast start, pardons Keith Cooper, declares East Chicago lead emergency". NUVO. Retrieved July 30, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  26. ^ "Governor Eric J. Holcomb: Economic Development Trips". Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  27. ^ "International Citizen of the Year". The International Center. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  28. ^ Kramer, BIll. "Indiana Passes 10-Cents-Per-Gallon Gas Tax Increase". MultiState Insider. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  29. ^ Bevin, Holcomb seats could switch parties in the upcoming election and in 2020, says National Journal, WHAS-TV, Jeff Burnett, July 25, 2019. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
  30. ^ Morning Consult Governor ratings, Morning Consult. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
  31. ^ a b Evans, Will (November 25, 2019). "Amazon's internal injury records expose the true toll of its relentless drive for speed". Reveal News. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  32. ^ Herron, Arrika (November 29, 2019). "Gov. Holcomb demands correction, retraction of Reveal investigation published in IndyStar". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  33. ^ Davies, Tom; Smith, Casey (July 23, 2020). "Indiana attorney general argues state mask mandate illegal". Associated Press. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  34. ^ "All five Indiana Supreme Court judges side with Holcomb in special session dispute". June 3, 2022.
  35. ^ Smith, Mitch; Medina, Eduardo (March 22, 2022). "Bucking Republican Trend, Indiana Governor Vetoes Transgender Sports Bill". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
  36. ^ Smith, Mitch (May 24, 2022). "Indiana Lawmakers Override Transgender Sports Veto". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 24, 2022.
  37. ^ Rodgers, Arleigh (April 6, 2023). "Indiana, Idaho governors sign bans on gender-affirming care". Associated Press.
  38. ^ Rodgers, Arleigh (May 5, 2023). "Indiana governor signs bills targeting LGBTQ students". Associated Press.
  39. ^ "Human Rights Campaign Condemns Indiana Governor Holcomb for Signing Gender Affirming Care Ban for Incarcerated People Into Law". Human Rights Campaign. April 20, 2023.
  40. ^ Rodgers, Arleigh (July 1, 2023). "Indiana Supreme Court upholds abortion ban, says state constitution gives only limited protections". Associated Press.
  41. ^ Kwai, Isabella; Chien, Amy Chang (August 21, 2022). "U.S. Delegation Visits Taiwan for Trade Talks, Risking China's Ire". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2022.
  42. ^ Bavender, Chris (March 26, 2015). "Republican Eric Holcomb makes US Senate run official". Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  43. ^ McKinney, Matt (September 15, 2017). "VIDEO: Henry, Indiana's First Dog, stops by RTV6". RTV6. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  44. ^ "Governor Eric Holcomb admitted to hospital after pneumonia diagnosis". MSN.
  45. ^ "Indiana Secretary of State Election Results". Indiana Secretary of State. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  46. ^ "Indiana Election Results". Indiana Election Division. November 23, 2020. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
  47. ^ "Indiana Election Results".

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by Chair of the Indiana Republican Party
Succeeded by
Preceded by Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Indiana
2016 (withdrew)
Succeeded by
Preceded by Republican nominee for Governor of Indiana
2016, 2020
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Political offices
Preceded by Lieutenant Governor of Indiana
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of Indiana
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Vice President Order of precedence of the United States
Within Indiana
Succeeded by
Mayor of city
in which event is held
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Otherwise Mike Johnson
as Speaker of the House
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Outside Indiana
Succeeded byas Governor of Mississippi