While Governor Mitch Daniels has been dodging questions about presidential aspirations, Rep. Mike Pence (R-Columbus) is already eyeing his cushy seat inside the Statehouse.
Pence told supporters Thursday in a conference call and across several media platforms that he will run for governor in the 2012 election. He had originally planned an earlier declaration, but so graciously held the announcement when the monumental news of Osama bin Laden's death broke Sunday.
According to a WTHR report Thursday morning:
Most already expected Pence to run after he ruled out a White House bid and resigned his No. 3 GOP House leadership position.
Pence is considered the favorite in the race because he carries strong name recognition, a network of supporters and campaign cash that could help him clear the field of other Republicans considering a run.
If recent developments are any indication, Pence's ideals are decidedly in line with those found in Indiana's overwhelmingly conservative legislative chambers these days. The congressman is known for aggressively pursuing the defunding of Planned Parenthood on the national level; Hoosier lawmakers just approved HB 1210 to strip Indiana's branch of the health services provider of all federal funds. The bill now awaits signature from Pence's potential predecessor.
Ultra-conservative Pence, who voted against the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and has been a thorn in the side of the immigration amnesty movement, is wasting no time in embarking down the campaign trail. Reuters reported Thursday afternoon:
The conservative Republican also filed papers with the Indiana Secretary of State forming the "Mike Pence for Indiana" committee.
Pence said a formal campaign kickoff will follow but said he wanted supporters to know "I'm in this race." Making reference to the Indianapolis 500, he told supporters "any real Hoosier knows that every big race begins in May anyway."
It's a pretty pathetic attempt to rally the Hoosier vote. What's even sadder, though, is that it just might work.
Though they've already voiced their displeasure with the development, Democrats have yet to put up a viable challenger. For now, former House Speaker John Gregg is only a rumored contender.