INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence faces a tight deadline to withdraw from the state’s
gubernatorial race if he is selected to be Donald Trump’s vice presidential
are already speculating about who would replace Pence in the governor’s
race, even though Pence’s selection is far from certain and the presumed GOP
presidential nominee is vetting several candidates.
If chosen, Pence
has until noon on July 15 to withdraw his name from the ballot because state
law bars him from appearing as both a vice presidential candidate and a
candidate for governor. The state committee of the Indiana Republican Party
would then have 30 days to choose a replacement, the law states.
On Tuesday, a
staffer for Republican Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke said in a statement
that the second-term mayor received phone calls over the weekend encouraging
him to step forward if Pence opts out of the race.
“Mayor Winnecke has
indeed received calls encouraging consideration to run for governor in the
event that the current GOP ticket changes,” the statement read. “He is
giving those requests their due consideration, but it is important to note
that Mayor Winnecke has not made any pro-active efforts to seek the position
of Governor or as a Lt. Governor running mate.”
Other prominent GOP
names that have been discussed include U.S. Reps. Susan Brooks and Todd
Rokita, state House Speaker Brian Bosma - who has not been coy about his
gubernatorial ambitions - and Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb, who was recently
appointed by Pence to replace Sue Ellspermann, who stepped down from the
post in March.
Pence, who was
warmly praised by Trump following a weekend meeting, has sought to downplay
his interest in the position. He recently told reporters in Indiana that he
is focused on his re-election as governor.
aren’t buying it. And they point out that Pence previously had presidential
ambitions of his own, even though he ruled out a run last year after his
approval rating slumped due over his handling of the state’s religious
governor bailed and now he’s trying to bail,” said Pence’s opponent,
Democratic former state House Speaker John Gregg. “Y’know, at our house when
you spill something, you clean up the mess. Gov. Pence is wanting to move
on. He’s created a mess and he’s not wanting to clean it up.”
Trump has never
held public office and is considering a small group of political veterans as
potential running mates. Pence served 12 years in Congress before he was
elected governor in 2012.
People with direct
knowledge of Trump’s vetting process say the list includes Pence, former
House Speaker Newt Gingrich, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Alabama Sen.
Jeff Sessions. Trump also had a meeting with Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst.
businessman tweeted Monday: “Spent time with Indiana Governor Mike Pence and
family yesterday. Very impressed, great people!”