No surprise. News broke 20 minutes ago that he’ll reveal his decision tonight to the Indy Star, which was itself a sign that he’d pass on the White House and stay local. And according to an Indy political site, that’s exactly what’s happening.
U.S. Rep. Mike Pence has ruled out a run for national office and will tour the state in the next few months, informed and reliable sources tell Howey Politics Indiana. The sources say that Pence has not made a final decision about a run for governor, keeping open the option of running for reelection in the 6th CD.
Just this morning, Richard Viguerie and Ralph Benko published an op-ed in Politico anointing him the man to beat if he declared given his standing among both fiscal cons and social cons. As it is, Palinistas everywhere breathe a sigh of relief that there’s one less “true conservative” to worry about. I’m actually kind of surprised that he’s passing on 2012: His thinking, presumably, is that with four years of executive experience and no Democratic incumbent in the White House, he’ll be primed for a serious run in 2016. But so will Christie and Rubio and Jindal and who knows who else. It’ll be a strong field, whereas this year’s really isn’t. Speaking of which, Pence reportedly met with Mitch Daniels just eight days ago to discuss matters unspecified; I wonder if that was to sound him out about his own intentions, on the assumption that two Hoosiers in the field will cancel each other out, or if he was giving him a heads up about his decision.
Meanwhile, as a “true conservative” exits stage right, a RINO is set to enter stage left. Much to my surprise, WaPo is reporting that Jon Huntsman is indeed serious about running for president and has already put together a team featuring McCain emeriti John Weaver and Fred Davis. I thought for sure when he told Newsweek he was thinking about it he was only goosing the media ahead of a run for Orrin Hatch’s Senate seat in Utah. But no, apparently he’s going to try to be an even more sensible “sensible centrist” alternative to Romney, Daniels, and the rest of the moderates in the field. I didn’t understand his strategy when I wrote about him three weeks ago and I don’t understand it now, so follow that last link for further thoughts. Presumably he’s hoping to catch the fancy of David Brooks, George Will, Krauthammer, etc, and siphon off Daniels’s buzz as the new establishment favorite, especially in light of the foreign policy cred he derived from his ambassadorship. Good luck with the “sure, I worked for Obama but I didn’t enjoy it” messaging in the primaries, Jon.
Update: Done deal.
“In the choice between seeking national office and serving Indiana in some capacity, we choose Indiana,” Pence, R-Columbus, said of himself and wife Karen in a letter being sent to supporters. “We will not seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012.”
He said he would make a decision “later this year” about what his next political step is, but by not running for president it is considered a virtual certainty that he will run for the GOP nomination for governor.
Needless to say, a big reason for the “Draft Pence” push in recent weeks was some social cons being uncomfortable with Palin or Huckabee as the nominee. Where do those people turn now?