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State GOP picks aide to Daniels as leader


– Newly elected Indiana Republican Party Chairman Eric Holcomb said Monday he wants to broaden the GOP membership to include more minorities and young people.

To do so, he will accept a lot of invitations and visit communities around the state to attract Hoosiers who want to be part of propelling the state forward.

“I plan on hitting the road and hustling,” Holcomb said. “I have to go where the conversations are taking place.”

He also said he knows many Republicans who identify with the tea party are frustrated about government overspending and intrusion, and he encourages them to bring solutions to the table.

Earlier Monday, the 18- member Indiana Republican State Committee unanimously ratified Holcomb’s election. He was the only candidate and was endorsed by Gov. Mitch Daniels.

The 42-year-old is a long-time aide and former campaign manager to Daniels.

Holcomb replaces Murray Clark, who left after five years on the job. Holcomb began his new job immediately and said he will work full time for the party. He also plans to tap a new executive director soon.

“I want to continue to build on the foundation that Murray and his crew laid,” Holcomb said. This starts with finding good candidates, making sure they have resources and then supporting officeholders’ agendas after election.

He focused specifically on this year’s mayoral elections, saying there is “no urgency” to tapping a Republican governor candidate for 2012.

U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, R-6th, is considering a run for governor. Holcomb said he hasn’t spoken to Pence about the possibility.

After graduating from Hanover College, Holcomb served in the U.S. Navy in Florida and in Lisbon, Portugal. He also managed campaigns for former Rep. John Hostettler and former Vincennes Mayor Terry Mooney.