Pence won’t run for White House in 2012

Mike Pence

U.S. Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) announced Wednesday, January 27, that he will not be a candidate for president in 2012.

The news surprised some, who believed Pence had been making the sort of gestures one makes when contemplating a run for the White House. He also came out on top of a straw poll conducted at an ultra-conservative Values Voters Summit last September.

But it came as some relief to those concerned about Pence’s strong anti-gay Congressional record. Pence has opposed every pro-equal rights legislation that has come to the floor in the House, including the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), and voted for amending the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

Speaking at an event in Iowa last October, Pence suggested that allowing gay couples to marry would lead, somehow, to a economic meltdown. He told MSNBC that repeal of DADT amounted to trying to “advance a liberal social agenda” and “mainstream homosexuality.” And he told an audience at the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) conference last year, “We must win back America for the fundamental traditional values of the American people.”

“Marriage was ordained by law, instituted in the law, is the glue of the American family, and the safest harbor to raise children,” said Pence, “and it must be defended against the onslaught of the left in the Congress, in the courts, and, if need be, in the Constitution.”

In making his announcement that he will not run for president in 2012, Pence did not give any definitive explanation for his decision but hinted that he is likely to run first for the governorship of Indiana.

“In the choice between seeking national office and serving Indiana in some capacity, we choose Indiana,” said Pence in an e-mail to constituents. Some political observers say that governors have a much better platform from which to spring into presidential candidate mode than do members of the U.S. House and suggest that reality is behind Pence’s decision.

Pence was seen as a favorite of the more conservative Republican voters who identify with the “Taxed Enough Already” (TEA) Party groups.

There are no announced candidates for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, but a recent straw poll in New Hampshire showed former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney with 35 percent of support, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas with 11 percent, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty with 8 percent, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin with 7 percent, and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota with 5 percent.

Other potential names being mulled by the media right now include U.S. Senator John Thune (R-SD), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr., who is currently serving as ambassador to China.

Huntsman is considered the only moderate in the potential field, having expressed support for allowing gay couples to obtain civil unions.

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