Politics

The highest level of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s administration is getting a shake-up, with Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann leaving to be replaced by a former state Republican Party chairman.

Pence announced Tuesday that Ellspermann would leave the state’s No. 2 office and that he’s nominating Eric Holcomb as her replacement.

Ellspermann said she has applied for the open position of president of Ivy Tech Community College and that she’ll soon be stepping down after an orderly transition.

Holcomb’s nomination must be confirmed by the Republican-dominated state legislature for him to take office.

The afternoon event comes a day after Holcomb ended his 11-month campaign for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring GOP Sen. Dan Coats.

Pence is heading into what is expected to be a tough election rematch in November with 2012 Democratic candidate John Gregg.

Pence declined to discuss the political impact of the Holcomb selection, saying his focus was on selecting the right person for the lieutenant governor’s office as Ellspermann departs.

But Gregg’s campaign says Pence is shoving aside an accomplished businesswoman in Ellspermann in favor of a longtime political operative in Eric Holcomb.

State Senate Democratic leader Tim Lanane said Indiana residents are losers in the sudden change as the leadership of state government will be less diverse.

The last time a new lieutenant governor was selected midterm was in 2003 when Democratic Gov. Joe Kernan nominated Kathy Davis following the death of Gov. Frank O’Bannon.