Donald Trump will pick Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to be his running mate, Roll Call reports.
Pence, a staunch conservative, brings to the ticket legislative experience from his time in the House of Representatives.
Trump is set to announce his VP decision Friday at Trump Tower in New York City, the site where he rolled out his candidacy for the presidency last year.
A year ago, this would be a sexier choice for the Republican nominee, as the Indiana governor was still largely considered a conservative hero. Pence was badly damaged when he completely mismanaged a bill the Indiana legislature passed protecting the religious objections of bakers, florists, preachers and so forth to servicing gay weddings; he said he would sign the bill, then weaseled out of that pledge amid bullying by the gay mafia, media and a few corporate entities. At that point Pence’s popularity began to tumble, and he’s now in a position where taking the VP spot on Trump’s ticket might be a lifeline of sorts.
Also, Pence’s qualifying deadline for re-election is tomorrow, so time was short where the VP decision is concerned.
Even with all that, though, Pence is an asset to Trump’s ticket. Naming him would serve to placate GOP establishment types who remember Pence as an excellent congressman, and he still carries a decent odor with conservative groups who fondly remember his exploits as a conservative critic of the excesses of the Bush administration in domestic policy.
Pence is a solid communicator and an articulate defender of conservative principles. He successfully fought off challenges to Indiana’s right-to-work laws in court and stood strong behind it. Though he did agree to an Obamacare Medicaid expansion, he did so with some interesting terms – measures to discourage emergency room abuse, copays for hospital visits and actually charging premiums, though small, to impose some skin in the game for the recipients. There isn’t a lot of word yet on how that’s gone a year later.
Trump’s final picks – Pence, Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich – were all falling stars of one sort or another. But you could make the argument Pence’s star has fallen the least and he offers the broadest possible appeal to Trump. If nothing else, Pence represents the best possible assurance to conservatives that Trump’s intention is to govern from the right.
Assuming Trump has any interest in being influenced by his vice president, that is.