Mike Pence passes on 2012 presidential bid
Indiana Rep. Mike Pence will not run for president but has left the door open to running for governor of the Hoosier State in 2012.
"In the choice between seeking national office and serving Indiana in some capacity, we choose Indiana," Pence said in a letter to supporters first reported by the Indianapolis Star. "We will not seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012."
Pence has been publicly mulling whether to run for the open governor's office or for president for several months. In recent weeks, he has received considerable encouragement to run for president.
Pence's leanings seemed to have zig-zagged in recent months.
Earlier this year he was widely expected to run for president. But, then former Sen. Evan Bayh (D) and Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman (R) both announced they would forsake what had been seen as likely runs for governor in 2012, leaving the field wide open for Pence. (Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels -- himself a potential presidential candidate -- is term limited out of office in 2012.)
There has been an organized effort over the past few weeks to draft Pence into the 2012 presidential race; America's President Committee, which is led by former Reagan Administration official Ralph Benko and former Kansas Rep. Jim Ryun, was organized for the express purpose of convincing Pence to run for national office.
Pence's decision to bypass a presidential bid in favor of a state race makes him the clear frontrunner to be Indiana's next governor should he choose to run.
The Republican Governors Association has been aggressively courting Pence. RGA Chairman Rick Perry's (Texas) first recruiting call in his new post was to Pence and RGA vice chairman Bob McDonnell (Va.) and the group's executive director Phil Cox met with Pence yesterday to discuss the race.
Bayh's no-go decision left Democrats scrambling for potential candidates with Rep. Joe Donnelly , Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel and former Rep. Brad Ellsworth mulling bids.
The Indiana seat is one of 14 governor's race on the ballot in 2011 and 2012.
| January 27, 2011; 5:02 PM ET
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