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The Journal Gazette

  • Niki Kelly | The Journal Gazette Gov. Eric Holcomb is assisted by Boomer, the Indiana Pacers mascot, and Mark Newman, Indiana tourism chief, in unveiling his NCAA tourney picks. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017 10:01 pm

Holcolmb's pick to win NCAA - Arizona

Niki Kelly | The Journal Gazette

Spurred on by Indiana Pacers mascot Boomer, Gov. Eric Holcomb took to Facebook Monday to unveil his NCAA tourney picks.

He called for an upset of Florida State by Florida Golf Coast (oops) but otherwise largely picked the favored seeds.

At one point he said "it breaks my heart" to pick Villanova over Big Ten team Wisconsin. And he said "I hate to do it but I gotta go with the Dukies" over Marquette.

Holcomb gave a lot of love to Indiana teams but ultimately knocked the Butler Bulldogs, Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Purdue Boilermakers out in the Sweet Sixteen.

His Elite 8 were Villa­nova, Duke, Gonzaga, Arizona, Louisville, UCLA, North Carolina and Kansas.

Holcomb called for Arizona and Kansas to meet in the championship with Arizona winning it all.

"Arizona peaks at the right time," he said.

Holcomb did the live event on the Pacers court alongside Mark Newman, executive director of the Indiana Office of Tourism Development, who noted that Indianapolis was hosting the first and second rounds for the 11th time.

But it’s the first time the games will be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Previously they were at Lucas Oil Stadium or the RCA Dome.

Holcomb on email

Gov. Eric Holcomb’s administration has been busy dealing with a ton of requests for emails from his predecessor’s tenure, especially after the revelation that former Gov. Mike Pence conducted state business using state servers and a private email address.

So how is Holcomb handling communications?

"Anything that comes into me to my personal email because people have had my email a long, long time – longer than I’ve been governor – I kick over to the work so it is archived," he said.

"And we’ve told folks on staff actually from Day One that work email is for work and personal email is for personal email. That’s our practice."

More Holcomb

Gov. Eric Holcomb will be the keynote speaker at the Allen County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner on April 13.

The dinner will be 6:30 p.m. at Hotel Fort Wayne, 303 E. Washington Center Road, which is to become the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Conference Center. There will be a VIP reception at 5:30 p.m.

Reservations are due by April 6.

Admission is $75 a person for dinner and $150 a person for dinner and reception, which includes beverages, hors d’oeuvres and photo opportunity.

Donnelly listening

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind. – considered among the most vulnerable senators up for re-election in 2018 – has scheduled a town hall meeting today at Ball State University in Muncie.

Many members of Congress from across the nation have encountered angry constituents and protesters at similar events or faced criticism for failing to schedule public meetings.

"I’m the hired help, and whether I’m traveling across the state, visiting businesses, or meeting with folks in various forums, I value every opportunity to hear from Hoosiers and answer their questions," Donnelly said last week in a statement.

Donnelly’s office has asked that people attending his town hall "refrain from bringing large signs or banners that would obstruct the view of other attendees."

The event is free and open to the public. It will be from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at Ball State’s Emens Auditorium, 1800 W. Riverside Ave., Muncie. Doors open at 12:30 p.m.

Donnelly is among 10 Democratic senators who face re-election next year in states won by Republican President Donald Trump in last year’s election. In a fundraising email Tuesday, Donnelly’s campaign stated, "He’s a top GOP target and NBC ranked him as the ‘most endangered incumbent’ in the Senate."

Another of those 10 lawmakers, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, announced Tuesday he will have four town hall meetings this week in his home state.

Be careful with your wishes

Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick testified for the first time before the Senate Education Committee last week.

She ended her opening statement by wishing Sen. John Crane a happy birthday.

Chairman Dennis Kruse then surprised McCormick by saying she would lead the chamber in singing "Happy Birthday" to Crane.

"So we’re singing? OK! Who knew that during the election," McCormick said.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at or Niki Kelly at An expanded Political Notebook can also be found as a daily blog at