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Opening Arguments

Persuading Pence

Mike Pence has been getting pressure to take on Evan Bayh in the Senate race this year, and he's likely to get even more when he meets with the National Republican Senatorial Committee this afternoon. When he visited us earlier this month, he was pretty negative about the idea. He seems to have opened up a little to the possibility -- "I'm not ruling anything out" -- and he has some big-name GOP strategists on his campaign staff, but he's still mostly saying no:

“Mr. Pence is flattered by the speculation, but he is focused on electing House Republicans in 2010 and serving the needs of his constituents in eastern Indiana,” said Matt Lloyd, Pence's spokesman.

I'm sure he'd rather be a senator than a representative -- who wouldn't? -- but he'd be giving up a safe seat to take a big gamble. It's easy to say that Scott Brown's stunning win in Massachusetts proves a Democrat can be beaten anywhere, but Bayh has very deep pockets, and he's a lot more liked in this state than the spectacularly inept Martha Coakely is in hers. There is an argument conservatives could make against Pence taking on Bayh. If Democrats are especially vulnerable this year, maybe somebody else could beat him. That way, we'd still have Pence in the House and another conservative in the Senate.

But I think you put in the best you've got for every game -- weren't we all make at the Colts for not doing that? If Republicans don't persuade their best hope to get in the race -- and right now, that's Pence -- then they can't complain to


Kevin Knuth
Thu, 01/21/2010 - 12:08pm

There is a problem here from a technical perspective- I don't really think Pence has enough time.

The process to file requires 500 signatures from each congressional district and each signature has to be entered into the statewide voter registration database AND verified that each and everyone is a registered voter.

Smaller counties struggle just to get Evan Bayhs done in time and he has been working on for a few months.

That task has to be complete (verification and all) by February 16th.

Leo Morris
Thu, 01/21/2010 - 12:15pm

Good point. I think he could get it done, and I suspect his staff has already been making some arrangements, just in case. But that means he's going to have to make up his mind in the next few days, doesn't it?

Kevin Knuth
Thu, 01/21/2010 - 2:02pm


I think he could get the signatures in time- the data entry and verification, done in most counties by the Clerks office, would be tricky.

And then what happens if he gambles and it DOESN"T happen? It will be too late to file for Congress.

Fri, 01/22/2010 - 1:01am

Well . . . if Joe Biden can run for the Senate and VP at the same time, why can't Pence run for two offices?

I believe that Joe Lieberman also ran for two offices in the 2004 election.

If Mike is going to run for Senator, he has to get rid of that ugly yellow polka dot tie/blue striped shirt dress code.

Kevin Knuth
Fri, 01/22/2010 - 8:55am

Indiana law says you can only run for ONE lucrative position (paying office) at a time. Pence would have to pick.

I really think Pence is liking the attention he is getting right now- but I doubt he enters the race. There are too many negatives for him:
1. He has aspirations for higher office. Regardless if that is Governor or the White House, he could be damaged by a loss to Bayh.
2. If he really wants to be a Senator, it is much easier to wait 2 years when Lugar will most likely NOT seek re-election.
3. The GOP believes they will take the House back this year- he ranks 3rd in the house. They will NOT take back the Senate- not enough seats up for grabs.