The short list was out, and all of America was expecting former-Speaker Newt Gingrich or New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to snag a place next to presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump on the ballot. Yet, the spot belongs to Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who flew under all of our radars.
Although political announcements are the worst-kept secrets, Trump’s decision was kept under wraps until Satuday, when both he and Pence announced their partnership in candidacy. Some were shocked at the lower-profile pick while news sources everywhere scrambled to find out everything about the Governor: the good, the bad and the ugly.
Pence, a lifelong Hoosier, or Indiana resident, has been in conservative politics for 16 years. Before becoming a politician, Pence graduated from Hanover College in 1981 and then earned a law degree from Indiana University Law School in 1986. Pence married his wife, Karen, in 1985, and the couple has three adult children. After losing two Congressional elections, Pence became a conservative radio talk show host where he described himself as “Rush Limbaugh on decaf.”
Elected after his third campaign for the position, Pence won a seat in Congress for Indiana’s Sixth Congressional District in 2000. From 2001 to 2012, Pence served in Congress and as Chairman on two separate committees: the House Republican Conference and the House Republican Study Committee, to both of which he was elected unanimously by his colleagues. However, out of the 90 bills he helped introduce to the House floor, zero proposals became law. He is credited, though, with helping to shape other Congressmen’s bills, which is not to be ignored. He was especially praised by The Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute for his advocacy for immigration reform according to Rolling Stone.
Elected to governor in 2012, Pence established a record of fiscal responsibility by championing the largest tax cut in Indiana’s history. The Governor also strongly supports education and signed a bill funding pre-k education in his state. Pence is also known for being extremely supportive of the American military and visited Indiana troops while in Congress. As well, he is strong in his conservative beliefs in various issues; in fact, he recently passed pro-life legislation in Indiana.
Although Pence has been called “out of sync,” by The New York Times, Trump announced that he chose the Governor to unite the Party, which seemed to work from the outflow of tweets from prominent Republicans such as Speaker Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush. While Trump himself hasn’t been a uniting force thus far, his vice presidential pick could help restore conservatives’ faith in his running. Pence isn’t explosive like Trump or any of his other vetted candidates like Gingrich or Christie, hence his “Rush Limbaugh” comment mentioned above. His track record in politics isn’t perfect, but Pence has proven to be a conservative, and some aren’t sure that Trump has done just that yet. With Pence on the ballot, however, party unity may just be a possibility.
Lead Image Credit: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons