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Indiana's Pence will not run for president in 2012

By Chris Cillizza
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 27, 2011; 10:52 PM

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) will not run for president in 2012 but has left the door open to running for governor of the Hoosier State.

"In the choice between seeking national office and serving Indiana in some capacity, we choose Indiana," Pence said in a letter to supporters first reported Thursday by the Indianapolis Star. "We will not seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012."

Pence has been publicly pondering whether to run for the governor's office or for president for several months. In recent weeks, he has received considerable encouragement for a White House bid.

Pence's leanings seemed to have zigzagged in recent months.

Earlier this year, he was widely expected to run for president. But then former senator Evan Bayh (D) and Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman (R) both announced they would forsake what had been seen as likely runs for governor in 2012, leaving the field open. Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), himself a potential presidential candidate, is leaving office because of term limits.

There has been an organized effort over the past few weeks to draft Pence into the 2012 presidential race. America's President Committee, led by former Reagan administration official Ralph Benko and former Kansas congressman Jim Ryun, was organized for the express purpose of persuading Pence to run for national office.

Pence will be the clear front-runner to be Indiana's next governor should he choose to run.

The Republican Governors Association has aggressively courted Pence. Texas Gov. Rick Perry's first recruiting call as RGA chairman was to Pence, and the group's vice chairman, Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, and executive director, Phil Cox, met with Pence yesterday to discuss the race.

Bayh's decision left Democrats scrambling for potential candidates, with Rep. Joe Donnelly, Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel and former congressman Brad Ellsworth considering bids.

The Indiana seat is one of 14 governor's races on the ballot in 2011 and 2012.

chris.cillizza@wpost.com

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