Washington (CNN) – One of Indiana Rep. Mike Pence's political confidantes is downplaying speculation that the Republican congressman will challenge Sen. Evan Bayh this November.
Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council who speaks with Pence frequently, said the Republican "has many options before him," but doubted that a Senate bid is one of them.
"I think he is doing well where he is, and I think he is positioned to move, but I just don't know if the Senate is where will be," Perkins said in a phone interview with CNN. Pointing to his extensive political travels and efforts to elect conservatives, Perkins said Pence "is not just a congressman from Indiana."
Asked if he is "positioned to move" towards a White House run, Perkins said it's a possibility. "He has potential to reach that at some point, but I don't think he is in a hurry," he said. "I wouldn't see him making hard and fast decisions until this fall's elections, to see how things go."
On the subject of Tuesday's special election in Massachusetts, Perkins said definitively that Republican Scott Brown's victory was a referendum on the Obama administration, and health care reform legislation in particular. But he stopped short of anointing Brown as a new star of the political right. Brown, he said, is too moderate on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.
"Scott Brown is a Republican," he said. "But I wouldn't describe him as a conservative. I think a lot of people weren't necessarily supporting him, they were opposing Coakley and they were working to oppose Obama's agenda.
"Brown certainly will not gain a large following among social conservatives," Perkins continued. "He could have been a door post standing up against Obama's agenda and he could have won. It is dangerous to misread the election results."
UPDATE: Sen. John Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said he will soon be discussing with Pence the possibility of running against Bayh.
"If he were to run it would be a real race in a state you wouldn't think we have much opportunity," Cornyn told CNN. "I talked to him last week, but we agreed to get together soon."