WASHINGTON (CNN) – Indiana Rep. Mike Pence has given high-profile speeches to conservative groups and journeyed to the presidential primary states of Iowa and South Carolina, travels that have generated chatter among Republican insiders that he might seek the presidency in 2012.
Now Pence is heading back to South Carolina once again, this time to raise money next Monday for his fellow congressman Gresham Barrett, who is leaving his seat in the House to run for governor. Pence has also lined up a meeting with the Charleston County Republican Party executive committee, a visit that was initiated by the congressman.
"He was coming down here for Gresham, and as a result of being here he called and offered if he could stop by and say hi," Charleston County GOP chairwoman Lin Bennett told CNN. Asked if she thought the appointment means Pence is putting feelers out for possible White House bid, Bennett said, "It does, but that's okay."
"That kind of thing usually starts to happen this time," she said, describing past meetings with possible presidential contenders. "I just hope it doesn't happen as early this time as it did during the last cycle."
Pence made an earlier trip to South Carolina in May 2008 to headline the state GOP's annual "Silver Elephant Dinner," which offered the congressman a chance to meet some of the state's top Republican players. Another Palmetto State connection: Pence's direct mail firm is Lexington-based Starboard Communications, which is headed up by Walter Whetsell, one of the state's top political consultants.
Before Pence's meeting on Monday with local activists, Pence will attend the private fundraiser for Barrett at a waterfront restaurant in Charleston. According to Barrett spokesman B.J. Boling, the two men "have a close friendship through their service in the House" and have "fought together for the conservative cause."
Aides to rival gubernatorial candidates also seeking the GOP nomination were quick to point out that Pence and Barrett haven't always seen eye-to-eye on issues dear to conservatives: Pence voted against President Bush's bailout of troubled financial institutions last October. Barrett voted for it.
Barrett's opponents in the Republican gubernatorial primary are Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, Attorney General Henry McMaster, state Sen. Larry Grooms and state Rep. Nikki Haley.
This guy makes me embarrassed to call myself a Hoosier.
Why are all the left fringe Dims so upset about Pence? I thought they were concentrating on helping Obama formulate his tail-between-the-legs run from Afghanistan? You know, Afghanistan. The "right" war that they whined that Bush had forgotten.
P.S. It's especially entertaining to see that one of them has chosen "victim" for his screen name. And they whine about stereotyping.
Save your time Mr pence. South Carolina is already in the bag for Repubs. The way they count votes here it does'nt matter.
The state is infested with white racist republicans. It's a shoe in.
We will not go backwards again. These conservative right wing christian freaks will never see the Presidency again.
Wow, another old, rich white guy. Where do they get them from? I can't even tell them apart any more. It's like they're secretly cloned from Nixon's old toenail clippings in the secret underground laboratory at RNC headquarters. Have a nice day!
Instead of worrying about the 2012 elections, these republicans should get to work and solve our current problems in this country! or wait, THEY ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM! No solutions, no ideas, lie, be a hypocrit, judge, be holier than thou, threaten people, hate, rage, etc...these are the words that come to mind when i think of republicans and their "ways"...this guy and the rest of the party are a joke...DO SOME WORK!!!!!