Mike Pence, the chairman of the House Republican Conference, may not be satisfied with being the No. 3 Republican, and talk of him considering stepping down for a 2012 presidential or gubernatorial run is picking up.
A new report from Politico says the Indiana representative feels like he would have the opportunity to be a more effective voice of the conservative movement if he weren’t burdened with leadership responsibilities, and that he might not be able to commit to a two-year leadership term in the 112th Congress.
While it’s clear Pence may have ambitions beyond the House Republican chairmanship, any discussion of his departure for a possible presidential bid in 2012 is premature, an aide told National Journal.
Still, the past seven days have seen Pence campaigning for GOP House candidates in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Florida, and Indiana, a sign that he may be trying to pick up political chips to cash in. Earlier this year, Pence won a straw poll of conservative Christians at the Values Voter Summit, finishing ahead of Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Sarah Palin. While it was only a small sample size of a niche group, it’s apparent that Pence has some national recognition.