From The Hill
By tapping Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate, Donald Trump is aiming to assuage concerns about his presidential bid among skeptical grassroots conservatives and establishment Republicans alike.
Pence is an evangelical Christian and staunch social and fiscal conservative who spent a dozen years on Capitol Hill before winning the governor’s mansion in 2012.
The 57-year-old father of three brings executive experience, crucial Washington relationships, foreign policy chops and conservative bona fides to a GOP ticket that had been severely lacking in those areas.
“He was a very successful member of Congress, a great governor and would really excite the conservative part of the party,” said House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who served a couple terms with Pence and initially backed Marco Rubio in the GOP primary. Chaffetz is skipping next week’s party convention to attend an overseas trip.
“To have one of our own on the ticket would be heaven-sent,” he said. “Mike Pence understands the House. He’s a rock-solid conservative, and that would go a long way with a lot of people.”
Trump will formally announce his VP pick at 11 a.m. Friday, just hours before a deadline in which the Indiana governor needs to notify the state as to whether he is seeking election to a second term.
A former conservative talk radio host, Pence won election to the House in 2000, less than a year before the 9/11 terrorist attacks that struck Washington and New York. He traveled to Iraq, Afghanistan and other global hotspots as a longtime member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The ambitious politician later won the chairmanship of the influential conservative Republican Study Committee, the party’s largest caucus on Capitol Hill.
In late 2006, Pence tried to use that platform to challenge Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) for minority leader, the top post in the House GOP conference that year. Boehner trounced Pence 168 to 27, but Pence would go on to win election to the No. 3 leadership post, GOP conference chairman, a few years later.
Trump surrogates on Capitol Hill said the Pence pick is indicative of the type of qualified and experienced individuals he would fill his Cabinet and administration with. As vice president, Pence would be able to help Trump navigate Capitol Hill but also Washington’s relationship with states.
“It just shows that Donald Trump has made two very good presidential decisions — one when he came out with his list for the Supreme Court, and now his pick for vice president,” said Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), an early Trump backer who attended a pro-Trump meeting on the Hill Thursday morning. “And I think this signifies what kind of administration and team he will put together.
“This should lay to rest any fears of what Donald Trump will do when he gets to Washington. He’s going to surround himself with the best people he can find.”
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