INDIANAPOLIS – On Saturday, members of Governor Holcomb’s own party handed him an embarrassing defeat after GOP delegates ratified language declaring marriage is between a man and woman. Holcomb’s hand-picked party chairman had earlier maneuvered to remove the language but was outflanked by hardline Republicans including Rep. Mike Braun, Attorney General Curtis Hill and Speaker Brian Bosma. Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody was surprised the first-term governor ceded his role as leader of the Party so easily.
“He’s either unwilling or was outmuscled, but at a critical moment to lead his party, Governor Holcomb stepped back,” said Zody. “Either way, it’s not the first time Holcomb has pulled a strategic disappearing act when faced with a difficult decision.”
Earlier in the week, Rep. Mike Braun made it clear he sided with hardline Republicans and against Holcomb when he spoke at a rally in support of the effort to keep discriminatory, anti-marriage equality language in the GOP platform. Braun appeared to be taking a page from disgraced GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s playbook by aligning himself with hardline GOP activists.
“Hoosiers are ready to leave the damage inflicted by RFRA behind,” said Zody. “It appears Rep. Braun intends to drag Hoosiers through RFRA again and has eagerly embraced the discriminatory policies of the past.”
The controversy over the platform language reignited a simmering power struggle between the state’s top Republicans. Traditionally, the governor holds sway as the Party’s de facto leader but this isn’t the first time Attorney General Hill or Speaker Bosma have targeted Holcomb. Earlier this year, the Attorney General rebuked Holcomb’s support of needle exchanges. He also hired former Department of Child Services Director Mary Beth Bonaventura after she criticized Holcomb. During the legislative session, Bosma publicly challenged Holcomb’s workforce proposals, questioning whether they “moved the ball” on the issue. Rep. Braun officially joined the feud Friday by rallying hardline Republicans against Holcomb’s position on the GOP platform.