Mike Pence, the Indiana Republican congressman who's gained attention among tea partiers and other conservatives over the past couple years, says he's not going to run for president.
Pence has been considered a potential White House aspirant since the 2008 campaign ended, but not many expected him to rise into the top tier of the GOP primary field. Pence is best known as the former chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the policy committee for conservative House Republicans. He had finished near the bottom of national GOP presidential polls. He collected two percent in a January poll by The Washington Post and ABC, finishing ahead of Haley Barbour and behind Tim Pawlenty.
Pence will likely run for either governor or Senate, as today he hinted at serving Indiana in some other capacity. The influential Club for Growth has previously suggested he run for Senate.
Pence sent this message to supporters on his political e-mail list this afternoon:
Friends and Supporters,
Over the past few months, my family and I have been grateful for the encouragement we have received to consider other opportunities to serve our state and our nation in the years ahead.
We have been especially humbled by the confidence and support of those who believe we should pursue the presidency, but after much deliberation and prayer, we believe our calling is closer to home.
The highest office I will ever hold is husband and father. As a family, we feel led to devote this time in our lives to continuing to serve the people of Indiana in some way.
In the choice between seeking national office and serving Indiana in some capacity, we choose Indiana. We will not seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012.
In every major decision in my life, I have learned to follow my heart, and my heart is in Indiana. Karen and I love this state: the highways and byways, the small towns and courthouse squares, the big cities and corn fields. We love the strong and good people of this state and feel a debt of gratitude to those who have sustained our work with their steadfast support and prayers.
After years of falling behind, Indiana is on the verge of an era of growth and opportunity like no other time in my life. Those of us who serve Indiana in Congress and in the Statehouse have a unique opportunity to advance the interests of Hoosiers. As Governor Daniels has rightly observed, there is important work to be done in Indianapolis and Washington, and it's time to focus on the task at hand.
In the months ahead, as we attend to our duties in Congress, we will also be traveling across the state to listen and learn about how Hoosiers think we might best contribute in the years ahead. After taking time to listen to Hoosiers, we will make a decision later this year about what role we will seek to play.
Public service requires humility, patience and discipline to pursue what matters most. To save this nation, men and women of integrity and insistent conservative vision must step forward and serve where they can make the most difference. While we may have been able to seek the presidency, we believe our best opportunity to continue to serve the conservative values that brought us to public life is right here in Indiana.
For now, permit us to simply say "thank you." In the wake of such encouragement, we have often thought to ask, "who am I, Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?"
Thanks to all those who took time to offer earnest counsel and advice.
Thanks to all who took time to express encouragement from across the state and across the country. And thank you for the prayers of so many faithful friends.
Indiana can lead the nation back to fiscal responsibility, reform and strong families. As we achieve an even better Indiana for our children and grandchildren, we will continue to be a model for a better and stronger America.