Indiana Gov. Pence as potential 2016 GOP candidate?

Exclusive interview with the Indiana governor


There’s plenty of talk about possible Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush campaigns for the White House in 2016, but what about Indiana Republican Gov. Mike Pence?

“I'm always humbled and flattered any time I'm mentioned for the highest office in the land,” Pence told Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday."

"Much of that talk is the result of the progress the people of Indiana have been making,” Pence told Wallace. “I mean the fact is we have the lowest unemployment rate in the Midwest, we demonstrated the ability to balance our budget, cut taxes even while we invest in expanded educational opportunities and infrastructure."

Pence also has also received some attention for Indiana being the first state in the nation to withdraw from Common Core to write its own academic standards. He makes the case education is a state and local function, and decisions about textbooks and curriculum should be made by parents, teachers, and Indiana schools.

Before being elected governor in 2012, Pence served six terms in the House of Representatives.

Some former colleagues, like Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, say Pence has a great deal of support in the House. “Conservatives already love Pence. “When America gets to know him, he will have a real shot at becoming president,” Chaffetz told Fox News “I want a president we can trust, that's why Mike Pence is so appealing.”

Pence also is not shy about expressing his views about freedom and the second amendment, which he did last week at the NRA convention in Indianapolis.

"We all know in this room that firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens don't threaten our families, they protect our families. Firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens don't cause crime they help in the fight against crime," Pence said.

A GOP strategist involved in the 2012 campaign told Fox News the Indiana governor is definitely somebody to watch. “Pence has a perfect blend of what many Republican primary voters may be looking for in 2016,” the strategist said. “He has executive experience developed outside of Washington to go with a reputation as a bedrock conservative who appeals to party firebrands.”

But the strategist had one bit of caution: “The main challenge for Pence is building an organization that can show donors he's serious. He's never run anything even close to a presidential campaign, and these things are not learn-as-you-go endeavors.”

There are some Republican insiders who like Pence as a governor, but said he’ll need to become better at campaigning.

They noted that in 2012 Mitt Romney won Indiana by more than 10 points, but Pence only won his race by less than 3 points.






Mike Emanuel currently serves as chief congressional correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC). He joined FNC in 1997 as a Los Angeles-based correspondent.