Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels may not be the only Hoosier seeking the Republican nomination for president in 2012. The rumors started swirling over the weekend that Rep. Mike Pence could be throwing his hat in the ring as well.
Conservative leaders are certainly beating the drum for a Pence run. This week, Mr. Pence will receive a letter of support for a presidential bid from, among others, Dick Armey, a former Republican House majority leader; Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center; and Morton Blackwell, president of the Leadership Institute.There is also a petition circulating on the Internet to draft Mr. Pence for president. It is being spearheaded by former Rep. Jim Ryan and former Reagan official Ralph Benko, who has close ties to the conservative blogging community and the tea party movement. We're also told that a coalition of conservative state legislators in South Carolina is urging Mr. Pence to run and promising to do all it can to carry the early primary state for the congressman. Mr. Pence also enjoys the support of two former GOP congressmen from Indiana—David McIntosh and Chris Chocola, who now runs the Club for Growth.
Between the endorsements we reported yesterday, the launch of an online petition effort, his surprise straw poll victory at the Value Voters Summit over the summer, and today's WSJ story, Pence must be taking a long, hard look at throwing his hat into the ring. He could, of course, have his heart set on running for governor -- which may, in turn, enhance his position for a future presidential run. Pure conjecture: I suspect that if Pence thinks he has a path to victory next year, he will run. If not, he'll hold off. His admirers are bending over backwards to light that path today.
Pence has hinted at a gubernatorial campaign, but has not explicitly ruled out a presidential bid, to my knowledge. Even if he had outright rejected the idea, that certainly didn't stop a certain someone from running anyway. Just sayin'.