January 6, 2021

Indiana Governor Avoiding Stance On GOP's Biden Challenge

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb speaks during a media availability from the Statehouse, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, in Indianapolis.  - AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb speaks during a media availability from the Statehouse, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, in Indianapolis.

AP Photo/Darron Cummings

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb declined to say Tuesday whether he supported efforts by some fellow Republicans in Congress to challenge Joe Biden’s election victory over President Donald Trump.

Holcomb, who was Vice President Mike Pence’s hand-picked successor as Indiana governor, said he wasn’t taking a stance on the challenge that’s picked up support from Indiana Sen. Mike Braun and at least two of the state’s seven Republican U.S. House members.

“It’s up to them what they do,” Holcomb said during an interview with The Associated Press and other news outlets. “I spend very little time thinking about other people’s jobs but my own these days, and I’ve never been happier to be serving Hoosiers in the state of Indiana and not in D.C.”

Indiana Republican Sen. Todd Young has not announced a position on the challenge and his office didn’t respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Holcomb has consistently avoided criticizing Trump, but has launched a more active response to the COVID-19 pandemic than some other Republican governors such as issuing a statewide mask mandate in July.

Trump won Indiana’s electoral votes, defeating Biden by 16 percentage points in November, and Holcomb easily won his bid for a second term. Those results were ratified Monday by the state Legislature without any objections from Democratic lawmakers.

Trump has gained support from about a dozen Republican senators and dozens more House Republicans to challenge the Electoral College vote when Congress convenes in a joint session Wednesday to confirm Biden’s 306-232 win. Indiana Reps. Jackie Walorski and Jim Banks have said they will support the challenges.

Pence, who will preside over Wednesday’s congressional session, endorsed Holcomb’s jump from lieutenant governor to replace him as the Republican candidate for governor in 2016.

The Indiana Democratic Party said in a statement that “Eric Holcomb’s silence shows a lack of political courage and is a quiet endorsement of the Indiana Republican Party’s so-called ‘protest vote’ against the U.S. Constitution and American democracy.”

Holcomb said the electoral vote certification is the constitutional duty of Congress.

“I have no influence, by design of our system,” Holcomb said. “Each of us needs to be focused on our job, they are on theirs and they’ll make those decisions and I’ll make mine here.”

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