INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Republican Eric Holcomb has won the Indiana governor's race, a little more than three months after replacing Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence as the GOP nominee.

Holcomb was little known around the state when he became the Republican candidate in July, about five months after Pence appointed the former state GOP chairman as lieutenant governor.

Holcomb defeated Democrat John Gregg, who narrowly lost the 2012 gubernatorial race to Pence.

"I got in this race because I love Indiana," Gregg said after Holcomb's victory was announced. "It's been a wacky ride in politics this year. Wacky year some much divide in our nation, divine in our state, tonight's the night we start. Let this point be the point where we let the healing begin. Where we all move closer together and begin to move forward as one."

Gregg's campaign aimed to link Holcomb to controversies during Pence's term such as Indiana's 2015 religious-objections law that sparked a national uproar from gay-rights supporters.

Holcomb touted the state's improved fiscal condition under Republican governors the past 12 years. Holcomb largely avoided mentioning Pence's name, instead citing his time as a top aide to Pence's popular predecessor, Mitch Daniels.