With establishment support for Chris Christie seeming to taper off and no firm commitment yet from Jeb Bush that he’ll launch a campaign in 2016, some within the Republican Party are looking to the Hoosier state and Governor Mike Pence to fill the perceived void.
Report from the Washington Post:
For a governor who says he is focused squarely on his home state of Indiana, Republican Mike Pence keeps popping up elsewhere.
There he was in Palm Beach, Fla., in February, evangelizing free-market conservatism and drawing a standing ovation from wealthy donors at a private dinner. In Germany last month, he assailed what he called President Obama’s “policy of conciliatory diplomacy.” In Milwaukee, he urged the Republican faithful last week to “never relent.”
Pence is also quietly cultivating influential Washington figures such as Bill Kristol and Gary Bauer, while becoming one of the loudest voices attacking Common Core, a set of education benchmarks that has sparked a revolt among tea party activists.
The moves bear the hallmarks of a potential run for president in 2016 — and some GOP leaders have begun talking up Pence as an under-the-radar standard-bearer who could return the party to the White House, according to interviews with more than two dozen prominent Republicans. They say the talk-radio-host-turned-congressman-turned-governor has the capacity to electrify grass-roots voters while uniting the constituencies that make up today’s deeply divided Republican Party.
“Pence could bridge really every group — the social conservatives, the fiscal conservatives, the foreign policy conservatives,” said Chris Chocola, president of the Club for Growth and a friend of Pence’s. “He’s not viewed as a fringe guy.”
In an interview with The Washington Post, Pence acknowledged that he is weighing his 2016 options amid calls from some supporters to consider a presidential run.
“In the last few months, people have reached out,” he said. “I’m listening.”
Pence hasn’t been a name in the spotlight but he does have some solid credentials to run on and he is appealing to many factions of the party.