Draft Mike Pence Movement Gaining Steam Among Conservatives


"I've heard as many people encourage us to consider coming home to Indiana as I have people who pulled me alongside and said, 'Keep the national campaign in mind,'" he said, according to the Indianapolis Star newspaper.

A presidential run could prove awkward for Pence, who might end up competing in a Republican primary against his state's current governor, Mitch Daniels, who also is said to be contemplating a 2012 bid. Pence and Daniels both received 2 percent support among Republicans in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.

Running to succeed Daniels could be the more straightforward play for Pence. The state's lieutenant governor, who was thought to be a leading contender for the job, recently said she would not run.

Pence's appeal among conservatives was crystallized in September when he won a straw poll at the Family Research Council's annual Values Voter Summit, a gathering of social conservatives.

Pence, the former chair of the House Republican Conference, received 24 percent of the vote in poll, two percentage points ahead of Huckabee and eleven points ahead of Romney. In fact, Pence was so popular among those who took the straw poll that he also topped the list of potential GOP vice presidential candidates.

In addition to the national efforts to "Draft Pence," at least one state-based group is getting into the action.

In South Carolina, a group of 11 state legislators held a press conference outside the state capitol in Columbia, S.C., on Wednesday encouraging Pence to seek the Republican nomination.

"America is facing a serious crisis and we need a serious president," said South Carolina state Rep. Kris Crawford, who helped organize the event. "In order to turn our country around, we are going to have to nominate someone who has not only the conservative principles to know what needs to be done, but also the knowledge, experience and, most importantly, the courage to actually do it. We cannot afford to nominate a weak, moderate candidate as we have in the past."

The group also has started a Facebook page and a Twitter feed to support their efforts.

Pence's advisers declined to comment on the draft campaigns, saying only that Pence has yet to make up his mind about his next move and was weighing both political and family considerations.

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