Conservatives organize to draft Pence in 2012
January 17th, 2011
05:00 AM ET
12 years ago

Conservatives organize to draft Pence in 2012

Washington (CNN) - Decision time is nearing for Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, who remains torn between seeking the governorship in his home state and mounting a dark horse bid for the presidency.

Pence said last week that he will make an announcement about his future by the end of January, but as he mulls which path to take in 2012, a group of conservatives are maneuvering to draft him into the presidential race.

A new pro-Pence group called “America’s President Committee” launched a petition drive Monday “urging conservatives and tea party members to sign a declaration encouraging Mr. Pence to run for President.”

The draft effort is being coordinated by Ralph Benko, a former Reagan administration official, and former Kansas Rep. Jim Ryun, who served alongside Pence until 2006 and was ranked as one of the most conservative members of Congress during five terms in Washington.

Their pitch: That in an underwhelming field of GOP presidential contenders, Pence is the strongest choice to unite the social, economic and national security wings of the Republican Party.

“Grassroots conservatives, Republicans, the Tea Party and populists are looking for a man or woman of principle who can champion and unite the newly energized and engaged citizenry,” Benko said in a statement announcing the new group. “Mike Pence is the best choice to lead us into a new era of peace and prosperity.”

Though he lacks the national profile of a Mitt Romney or Sarah Palin, Pence, who hosted a talk radio show before entering Congress in 2000, has spent years endearing himself to conservative audiences and is popular among grassroots activists.

He made repeated visits to the key early presidential states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina in 2010.

But developments in Pence's backyard could be pulling him toward a gubernatorial bid. Indiana Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, a popular Republican figure in the state, opted against a campaign for higher office in December, leaving Pence with a tidy path to the GOP nomination should he decide to run.

Though Skillman’s decision opened a door for Pence back home, Republicans close to the congressman insist he remains genuinely undecided about his future.

Filed under: 2012 • Mike Pence
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    WHAT???? Gov, maybe.

    January 17, 2011 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  2. Larry

    Obama will be in office through 2016

    So if you want to challenge that, make sure you keep your day job, your gonna need it

    January 17, 2011 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  3. diridi

    do not you ever and shouldn't you be ever consider these GOP thugs...they talk of Health Care Repeal...because it is passed from black president....Repealing this much needed health care is detrimental to the nation.....wake up, America, and speak up....nasty GOP thugs drama needs to be ended in Toto....

    January 17, 2011 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I do have to admit that the list of job killing republican candidates is underwhelming. With all the republican created problems facing the country, Pence will make the elimination of women's rights his number one priority. His claim to fame was to vote for the Bush bank bailouts, and then deny he did it.

    January 17, 2011 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Peace and prosperity. Give me a break. Mike Pence is a hypocrite. He goes which ever way the tide is going. No independent thought whatsoever.

    January 17, 2011 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  6. Just

    I'm from Indiana and I hope he succeeds with neither (and I really like Mitch Daniels, the current republican governor). Pence would set us all back many years. He's basically Rush Limbaugh, all bombastic talk, no substance.

    January 17, 2011 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  7. Tony in Maine

    I laughed at the thought of Paul LePage, the quintessential 1910 male, and now he is governor of my state. I will not laugh at Mike Pence who, with a compliant Congress, would be in a position to return our country to the 1890's.

    January 17, 2011 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  8. slipthalo

    Pence has done nothing for Indiana so what does this group think he could do as President?

    January 17, 2011 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  9. jules sand-perkins

    Pence is still not what Republicans need as a viable presidential candidate.
    As Obama proceeds with his new cooperation with Republicans on individual issues, he will inevitably build a more bipartisan, moderate thrust appealing to a broader base of voters than a far-right conservative can match in 2012.
    Pence is not the man for that fight. I am one Republican who would not vote for Pence over Obama.

    January 17, 2011 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  10. Shawn Sullivan

    pass. I would not vote for this guy ever.

    January 17, 2011 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  11. ramtruck2500

    Well that makes my vote easy. It wont be for this slick numbskull either. I again I ask where are the jobs!???

    January 17, 2011 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  12. jules sand-perkins

    I have enough faith in the Republican Party to believe that its real leadership has something better than Rep. Mike Pence up its sleeve.

    January 17, 2011 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  13. Peace

    A dark horse will never change to be the white one. Hey, GOP don't waste your time. Come 2012 will not be your turn. Your better wait until 2016!

    January 17, 2011 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  14. Ernie

    Mike Pence is a long shot, the Republicians and the Tea Parties acroos the United States better raise a "Billizion Dollars" and get his face out into the public. He is not the No. 2 ranking guy in the House. Let's wait to see what is decision will be at the end of January. After that then start planning. In the mean time the Republicians and the Tea Parties should be raising money.

    January 17, 2011 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  15. usa/canada

    i don't anything about this guy was he born in t USA how do we know he's not a terroist or pals around with them is he from real america like NYC or LA i dont know he looks kind of well you know not like us

    January 17, 2011 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  16. GonzoinHouston

    Go for it. The GOP has a little power for the next two years. After two years of serving the rich, shafting the middle class and TP's alike, and kowtowing to Sarah Palin, "conservative representative" will be an obscenity. Obama would beat him worse than he did McCain.

    January 17, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |