January 21st, 2010
12:35 PM ET
5 years ago

Pence urged to challenge Bayh in Indiana Senate race

A top conservative group is pressing Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, to run for Senate.
A top conservative group is pressing Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, to run for Senate.

Washington (CNN) – In the wake of Republican Scott Brown's surprising win in this week's Senate special election in Massachusetts, the anti-tax Club for Growth is publicly urging Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, to challenge Sen. Evan Bayh this fall.

Pence is a hero to small-government conservatives who has beefed up his political operation in recent months along with making travels to states like Iowa and South Carolina, sparking talk that he is eyeing a White House run in 2012. Pence has also been mentioned as a potential successor to Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels after Daniels' second term expires in 2013.

But the Club for Growth wants Pence to jump in the Senate race instead. Chris Chocola, the Club's president, said in a statement Thursday that Brown's win in Massachusetts "confirms that Indiana is a winnable race for a principled advocate of economic freedom and limited government."

"Mike Pence can beat Evan Bayh in November, and I join pro-growth conservatives in Indiana and around the country in hoping that he does," Chocola said.

On Wednesday, Pence confidante Tony Perkins - the president of the conservative Family Research Council - suggested to CNN that Pence isn't likely to run against Bayh. "I think he is positioned to move, but I just don't know if the Senate is where he will be," Perkins said.

Pence, currently the House Republican Conference Chairman, is at least entertaining the idea. He is planning to meet with Sen. John Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, on Thursday afternoon. If he does decide to run, Pence would likely need some financial help from both the Club and the NRSC: Bayh has nearly $13 million in his campaign war chest, while Pence had just $463,000, according to his most recent financial report.

Mike Connolly, a spokesman for the Club, hinted that the group would be there financially if Pence takes the plunge this year.

"There is no question the Club and our members hold Mike Pence in very high regard," Connolly said. "People can draw their own conclusions about what that might mean."


Filed under: 2010 • Club for Growth • Evan Bayh • Indiana • Mike Pence • NRSC
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Dutch the Great

    Pence better not step ahead of himself. All these republicans are optiistic about 11/10, but NONE OF THEM HAS CONTRIBUTED TO ANY REASONABLE SOLUTIONS. Kudos to Sen. Snowe for attempting to move things ahead. As for the rest of those powerhungry republicans, fuggetaboutit!!!!

    January 21, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. Jill-IN

    We are residents of northern Indiana and we would NEVER vote for Pence. Period!

    January 21, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  3. ICARE

    Pence seems like a really good man with good principles, but he doesnt have the appeal. I know, citizens want the whole package.

    January 21, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. ICARE

    Politicionary:

    Republi CORP or Republi CON: too smart to hear U in love with scrooges = nothing for the people = see past 8 years = creates wealth in the form of borrowing = Gives handouts of 1 trillion dollars to billionaires = See W

    Dumbo CRAT = dumb enough to listen = Usually cleans up after the elephants' mess = Revives the economy = Always give something back to the communities = see Bill Clinton

    January 21, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  5. Ryan

    I understand the shocking election results in MA have left many people feeling like the American people are ready for a dramatic change of any sort, but I don't believe this to be true. Martha Coakley ran a terrible campaign in MA essentially telling people not to vote for Scott Brown because he is a Republican. For blue dog Democrats perhaps this was convincing, but in a state which has more registered Independents than registered Republicans and Democrats combined, this argument is unpersuasive.

    Mike Pence continues gain popularity in Indiana, but I find it difficult to imagine that he could defeat Evan Bayh in the next election cycle. Sen. Bayh continues to be a conservative Democratic senator and was a very successful governor in Indiana. I wouldn't read too much into the election results in MA as a bellwether for Indiana or the nation.

    January 21, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  6. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Democrats know that they will be challenged in the mid-term elections come November.

    Americans are not idiots, and November is a long ways off.

    January 21, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. Dan, TX

    Cool, Indiana can go even further right, cut spending for education and cut funding for IU and Purdue. Build a few more prisons. After all, growing corn and soybeans doesn't require that much formal schooling. Leave the academic excellence to the folks in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio.

    January 21, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. Bill NY

    Anti tax my you know what! The greedy, greedy club for growth of thier own pockets club is more like it. They talk of the trickle down effect, but we all know what trickles down.

    January 21, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    I have yet to see "small" government from either political party.....and I am fairly certain it won't be forthcoming from either major party.

    January 21, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. Richard-Arkansas

    The Club for Growth, better known as the Lucky Sperm Club, is composed of a lot of filthy rich people who inherited their money and whose goal is to cut out all taxes on people like themselves. They feel that the only people who should pay taxes are those who work with their hands and investment income should be tax free. They have already been somewhat successful with the elimination of teh estate tax.

    Unfortunately, this is more of the "trinkle down" theory that has been proven again and again to be just words with no basis in reality.

    January 21, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. manuallabor

    Why do people support Either party of congress? With todays supreme court decision to lift campaign spending limits for corporations, The parties will become much more than LOOTERS IN SUITS,they will become deaf to the voice of the American people.

    January 21, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  12. Kathleen

    Thanks again Massachucetts! But then again, give them enough rope and they will lose!

    I want the Republicans to fail. They will NOT help the Middle Class!!!
    I am a Democrat. Not a Independent.

    If Obama fails, the Middle class will fail!!!!!

    January 21, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  13. GI Joe

    Go ahead and give up your representative seat. Good idea.

    January 21, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. slipthalo

    As a Hoosier, there are 2 things I'm not proud of: Dan Burton and Mike Pence. Both are bad news. Burton for just about everything but especially for his vote against the ethics bill and Pence for his lack of ethics including his so-called scholarship fund that hasn't paid out a dime to date.

    January 21, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. alphonso

    i bet u evan bayn is now against health as it is written!he aint no martha coakley nice try repubs pence aint no dummy

    January 21, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  16. MIke Alvarez, OD

    As a Hoosier, I've always thought that Evan Bayh wasn't bad. I considered him a "moderate" Democrat. But I was very disappointed to see him toe the party line and vote for Obamacare. That was a big mistake that he may well come to regret. I now see a vote for Bayh as a vote for Obama and his entire agenda. I really hope Mr. Pence runs against him. I'd enthusiastically support his campaign.

    January 21, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  17. Tom in FL

    Can the "Club for Growth" explain why there was no growth under eight years of Republican rule?
    “The definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” — Albert Einstein

    January 21, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  18. Dean

    Brown, who only months earlier may have been downcast as a RINO, is somehow the savior of the conservative wing of the GOP ? Has anyone looked at his voting record ? He looks more like Dede Scozzafava than Doug Hoffman. Yet somehow the Club for Growth has determined that Brown's victory is a good sign for them and the far right ?

    It really isn't news that a very liberal candidate like Brown can win in a liberal state. What would be news would be if Brown voted with the Club for Growth in the half term he has before seeking re-election as a half-term freshman Republican in what will be a far more contested race against a likely far more charismatic opponent in a very Democratic state.

    If anything, the people who "won" in this election were the moderate and liberal Republicans, not the Hoffman crowd. Indeed, it seems to show that the only way the Republicans can win is if they put up their most liberal candidates.

    However, the Club for Irrational Exuberance never seems to learn.

    January 21, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  19. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    Evan Bayh is a good Senate representative. He's pretty good, especially his own state at Indiana. But I think he will tell you that Indiana has seen a dramatic shift over the last year. The prez won Indiana and surprisngly, did O.K in the most conservative districts, he did alright. Of course the margin of error was way highly nationally but overall, he managed to suppress those districts quite well. But I think this time, is a different story. If I had to bet, Indiana would be on the red column, that's how much has changed as of late.

    I think Pence is a good representative, I think he is. Been around an awful long time and knows his state quite well, he knows this game. But also Bayh as well so it'll be a tough prediction and he needs to manage and maintain that status if he does decide to consider a run. But there's a lot of time, a lot of time until past Red States(Ohio, for example), will be completely normal once and for all.

    Is pretty much over, as of now, no Dem is gonna take em back, I promise you.

    January 21, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  20. J-Syxx

    I'd rather cut off my right hand then vote for a Republican in this state. Thank god I was too young to vote when I was actually swayed by their moronic "ideals."

    January 21, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  21. Wisconsonite

    "the anti-tax Club for Growth"

    I find this "anti-tax" stuff coming forth from groups like this and the Tea Party really kind of baffleling. I mean, nobody really nobody, actually wants to pay higher taxes but ANTI-tax??? Are these people prepared to stop sending their children to public schools? Are these people prepared to stop driving on our highways, & bridges? Are these people prepared to stop using the US Postal Service? Libraries? What about calling the police if their home is robbed? How about if their home catches on fire? How about protecting us from terrorist? What about the FBI? The CIA? These things cost money. Just like everything else, costs for these services go up and cost more money. We are very lucky in this country to have the government provided services we have and pay, in many cases, much lower taxes than many other countries. I think we've really become a county of whiners. We want everything, but don't want to pay for it.

    January 21, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  22. Beverly in NC

    The Republicans certainly are desperate for candidates. They have NONE who are believable leaders and certainly none who have any clue on solutions to restore America and fix the mess they created.

    Al Republicans know how to do is criticize the Democrats who are doing ACTUAL WORK for the People. It's easy to sit on the sidelines, do absolutely nothing, and tell lies and hurl hateful unfounded criticism. It's hard to offer real solutions and do work to benefit Americans. Republicans have chosen to do NOTHING all year but call for the failure of our nation. Republicans have betrayed America.

    Pence, this new nitwit Brown from MA (who, in his acceptance speech, offered up his teenage daughters to single men until his wife slapped him and told him to shut up while his daughters looked horrified) to the old worn-out candidates to the racist SC Republicans show the Party of NO has no leadership, no viable and credible candidates, no solutions, no new ideas and no one any American is going to trust.

    Republicans are the still exactly the same in values, still clueless, and still stuck on implementing the disasterous failed policies of Bush/Cheney. They are the PAST and will set America backwards. People sure have a short memory as to who created this giant mess. President Obama has been doing an outstanding job restoring our nation the best he can based on the level of total destruction Republicans left him to clean up. Democrats are passing legislation for the PEOPLE and every single Republican has voted NO on everything to help the middle class.

    What have Republicans done for YOU this year? Accept no responsibility for the 2 Bush fraudulent wars or the record deficit THEY ran up and our economy they destroyed. They have refused to work to help fix their mess. They have offered NOTHING to restore our country. All they have done is vote NO on every bill to help Americans recover. All they have done is spread outrageous lies, spread hate and fake fear, and support extremist racist groups who threaten violence. How more anti-American can one group be?

    Democrats are THE Party of the People and Republicans are delusional if they think intelligent Americans are going to trust these traitors again or vote more into any office. Republicans are DESTROYERS. Democrats are REBUILDERS.

    January 21, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  23. bill

    from a proud indiana hoosier.bring this fool pence on.he has answers to nothing.dont particully liker bayh.but choose between bayh and pence.BAYH WILL BEAT HIM LIKE A DOG

    January 21, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  24. JonDie

    According to CNN, "Pence is a hero to small-government conservatives..." Says who? That's ludicrous. Pence is a radical, right-wing extremist who supported Bush's all-powerful government 100%. Once again, CNN makes the news by lying about it...instead of reporting the news.

    January 21, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  25. Richard

    Evan Bayh is just about as untouchable as a politician in Indiana can get. I'm a die-hard Republican, but even I see Pence's chances against Bayh as being unsurmountable.

    Democrats, Independents, and some Republicans in Indiana are in love Senator Bayh. Representative Pence is probably better off going after the governorship to gain some executive experience if his ultimate goal is the presidency.

    January 21, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
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