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GOP panel meet to ratify Crouch as Holcomb’s running mate

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Indiana Republican leaders have confirmed new gubernatorial candidate Eric Holcomb’s pick for his running mate.

The GOP state committee voted Monday morning to nominate state Auditor Suzanne Crouch for lieutenant governor, Indiana Republican Chairman Jeff Cardwell said.

Holcomb introduced Crouch before about 100 Republican officials and supporters during a news conference at the state party headquarters soon after the vote.

Holcomb, the current lieutenant governor, announced Friday his selection of Crouch, who was a state legislator from Evansville and a Vanderburgh County commissioner before Gov. Mike Pence appointed her state auditor in early 2014. She won election to a full term as auditor later that year.

The Republican committee’s vote completes the reshuffling of the November ballot caused by Pence dropping his re-election bid to become Donald Trump’s vice presidential running mate.

Crouch said her previous experience in the Legislature and county office gives her knowledge of the problems local governments face.

“I can assure you that the Holcomb-Crouch ticket is going to be about creating jobs, balancing budgets, cutting taxes, investing in education and infrastructure and creating those opportunities that move Indiana forward for future generations,” Crouch said.

Holcomb is running against Democrat John Gregg, a former Indiana House speaker who narrowly lost to Pence in 2012. Gregg’s running mate is state Rep. Christina Hale of Indianapolis.

Indiana Democratic Chairman John Zody said in a statement that Holcomb and Crouch were both handpicked by Pence and support what Zody calls Pence’s “out-of-touch record.”

“The Republican Party reaffirmed their support for this failed economic agenda – one which Hoosiers were already planning to dismiss this November,” Zody said. “The names on the ballot may have changed, but sadly Holcomb and Crouch are just more of the same.”

Holcomb, a 48-year-old former state Republican Party chairman who has never been elected to office, became lieutenant governor in March after Pence’s 2012 running mate, Sue Ellspermann, resigned to seek the presidency of Ivy Tech State College.

Crouch, 64, was first elected to the Indiana House in 2005. She rose to become vice chairman of the budget-writing House Ways and Means Committee before she was appointed auditor, an administrative office that handles state payments and tax distributions.