Election 2020

6 Things You Should Know About Mike Pence

(Jeff Morehead/The Chronicle-Tribune via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

On Thursday, Roll Call reported that Donald Trump will choose Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate, according to an unknown source. Trump’s campaign has officially denied this report, saying that he has not yet made his choice. Nevertheless, recent reports say Pence has dropped his re-election campaign to accept the position beside The Donald.

Trump has been in Indiana this week, and has already campaigned with Pence. Reportedly, Pence has flown out to New Jersey to formally accept the role. A formal announcement is expected Friday.

Here are five things you need to know about the Indiana governor.

1. He has a long history in politics.

In the 1990s, Pence had a radio talk show called The Mike Pence Show, and did a Sunday TV show in Indianapolis. He described himself as “Rush Limbaugh on decaf,” meaning he’s not quite as bombastic as Rush, but just as conservative.

Pence served in Congress for 12 years (2001-2013), before becoming governor of Indiana in 2013. According to Roll Call, of the 90 bills and resolutions he sponsored, only 21 passed one house, and zero became law. Pence was a stalwart conservative who opposed President George W. Bush’s big government policies, such as No Child Left Behind.

As a congressman, Pence reached the number three post in House Republican leadership, as chairman of the House Republican Conference. His fellow Republicans encouraged him to run for Senate against Evan Bayh, but he declined.

He was elected governor of Indiana in 2012 and has served over three years as executive of that state.

2. Pence is an outspoken evangelical Christian.

Pence has described himself as “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.” He grew up in what he described as a large Irish Roman Catholic family which celebrated the 1960 election of Democratic President John F. Kennedy.

In a 2010 interview with CBN while he was still a congressman, Pence described his conversion experience in college. “I began to meet young men and women who talked about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and while I cherish my Catholic upbringing and the foundation that it poured in my faith, that had not been a part of my experience.”

“Standing at a Christian music festival in Asbury, Ky., in the spring of 1978, I gave my life to Jesus Christ and that’s changed everything,” Pence confided. “For me it all begins with faith; it begins with what matters most, and I try and put what I believe to be moral truth first. My philosophy of government second. And my politics third.”

3. He is a champion of local and state education.

Pence has been a consistent opponent of federal intrusion into education. He opposed No Child Left Behind in the 2000s, and he stood up against Common Core as governor. In 2014, he became the first American governor to sign legislation reversing the Common Core education standards which Indiana had adopted in 2010.

But his education efforts have not been entirely negative. Pence supported expanding charter schools and voucher programs, but his major education initiative was the creation of the first state-funded preschool program. A pilot program launched in 2015.

4. Pence is a stalwart social conservative.

Since the beginning of his time in elected office, Mike Pence has stood for life, traditional marriage, and religious liberty.

While in Congress, he pushed the effort to defund Planned Parenthood. As governor, he signed a pro-life bill that banned abortions that are based on the baby’s race, sex, or potential disability, including Down syndrome.

He got into trouble in 2000 by saying that homosexuals should not openly serve in the military and has opposed repealing the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy. Pence has opposed both gay marriage and civil unions.

As governor, he signed the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law, garnering backlash from LGBT and progressive groups. He eventually caved to pressure by liberal groups, however, approving a “fix” that removed the rights of business owners to bring religious freedom violations before a court.

Next Page: How Pence approaches business, and he didn’t exactly endorse Trump in the primary.

5. He is a pro-business conservative.

Pence caved on the religious freedom issue only when it seemed likely to derail his state’s economy. A simple glance at his Twitter feed reveals that the governor’s emphasis is on jobs and the economy.

Pence is proud that his state is 5th in the nation and 1st in the Midwest for business.

6. He opposed Donald Trump, and endorsed Ted Cruz.

What makes Trump’s choice of Pence rather odd is the governor’s outspoken criticism of The Donald during the primary campaign. After Trump’s controversial plan to ban Muslim immigration in November, Pence responded with this message:

When Trump suggested that government should punish mothers who seek abortions, Pence was one of many pro-life advocates who vehemently disagreed. “As someone who has embraced the pro-life position all his life, he has a deep compassion for expected mothers and the unborn,” Pence’s spokesman said in a statement to Fox News in March.

Shortly before the Indiana Republican presidential primary, Pence endorsed Texas Senator Ted Cruz. “I see Ted Cruz as a principled conservative who has dedicated his career to advocating the Reagan agenda,” Pence said. “I’m pleased to support him.”