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What is Mike Pence Up To?

As we approach the November mid-term elections talk continues to swirl of a GOP takeover of, at least, the House.  Regardless of what happens, there is sure to be a shakeup in leadership for the House Republicans.  While Politico likes to stir the pot of a possible behind the scenes riff between Republican Leader John Boehner and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (something they both deny) posturing has already started for positions (should the GOP win back the majority) such as Whip, Deputy Whip, House Conference Chair, RSC (Republican Study Committee)Chair and NRCC Chair.

“But Josh, Mike Pence is Conference Chair.  Are you saying people are gunning for him too?” Not at all.  Pence might have a different card up his sleeve.

There could also be other shuffles in Republican leadership post-election. Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, currently the House Republican Conference chairman — the No. 3 post in the minority — may not even seek to remain in the leadership, instead casting his eye toward other opportunities, including a gubernatorial run back home or a long-shot 2012 presidential bid.

People familiar with Pence’s thinking said he would not run for anything besides conference chairman, rejecting a potential run for majority whip. For his part, Pence said discussing leadership races for the next Congress at this point would be “looking past the playoffs.”

(Emphasis mine)

If you’ve attended any Lincoln Day dinners here in Indiana where Pence has spoken, most likely he’s been introduced as either as “possibly our next Speaker of the House, our next Governor, or our next President”. Here is what we know about Mike Pence; he wants to be President. But how does he get there? Is it via a high profile leadership position in the House? Not likely. To put it in perspective, the only Congressman to be a sitting member of the House of Representatives to have been elected President was James A. Garfield.  Many men who have served in the House have run for President, but only Garfield made it directly.

So, if Pence is to run for President and be considered a legit candidate, logic would dictate that he runs for Governor or Senate (would he run against Richard Lugar?).  But looking back at success rate of sitting Senators to the White House, only three have made that leap (Harding, Kennedy and Obama).  So, that probably rules out the senate.

As it stands, the vast majority of our Presidents have been Governors, Vice Presidents or Generals.  For the most part, the American voting public requires executive experience to be President.  Of the four men who went from the House or Senate to the White House, none have lasted more than one term.  Unfortunately, three of the four have died in office.  Harding died of either a stroke, heart attack or heart failure and Garfield and Kennedy were assassinated.  And President Obama is currently in his first term, so the jury is out on him.  But back to Pence….

That leaves Pence running for Governor as the logical leap (presuming he runs and wins) to the White House.  The question remains.  Does Pence really want to be governor or would he just see it as a stepping stone to a higher call?

At this point, it’s all speculation.  As Congressman Pence would says, this post is “looking past the playoffs.”  But it is an interesting discussion.  What do you think he might do?  Leave a comment and vote in the poll in the right hand column.

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