Media types like Mary Beth Schneider, Abdul Hakim-Shabazz and Matt Tully immediately praised the selection. Even Democrat Jennifer Wagner weighed in with a column saying Holcomb was a "smart move."
The fact that a bunch of left-wing political columnists, a liberal Democrat, and a "moderate" Republican who acts as the party's Establishment mouthpiece thinks a decision is a good one should
Tully even goes so far as to claim that the selection will help "shore up the [GOP] base." Does Tully really believe that Holcomb has a big following among tea party people and evangelicals? He does not. That's why the former GOP state chairman was heading for a third place finish in the U.S. Senate race before the Pence people threw him the lifeline of being Lt. Governor.
The aforementioned individuals all buy into the media's simplistic assumption that Pence is very popular among conservatives and that where he needs shoring up is among moderates. It is safe to say that Schneider, Shabazz, Tully and Wagner don't spend a lot of time with members of the tea party and evangelicals who make up the majority of the GOP. If they did they'd shocked to find out how alienated and angry they are at the Governor. Whether it is the Governor's support for more local taxes, regional cities, Common Core-lite, "the Fix" and other measures. they feel the Governor has abandoned them at nearly every turn. When it seemed like they were ready to give up completely on Pence, the Governor sent evangelicals an olive branch with his defense of religious freedom in his state of the state speech, a position that made people like Schneider and Tully uncomfortable. Holcomb though makes them feel comfortable and that should be no comfort to conservatives.
Holcomb is widely considered to be an establishment, Chamber of Commerce Republican. That part of the GOP coalition, by far its smallest component in terms of actual voters, was already solidly in Pence's corner. They are, after all, thrilled with the Governor's willingness to use the power of government and Hoosier's tax dollars to help out big business. For many people though Pence's approach smacks of corporate welfare, a policy which is an anathema to populists of all poltiical stripes and gave rise to the Tea Party some 10 years ago.
Holcomb does nothing to shore up Pence's unpopularity with the very populists who are dominating the GOP presidential campaign. Many of those people who support candidates like Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson live in Indiana. Can Holcomb build a bridge to those people while playing down his establishment, Chamber of Commerce reputation? Doubtful.