Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) at CPAC 2015Photo credit: Gage Skidmore
Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) at CPAC 2015
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

***See updates below***

There has been much speculation and opining about who should be Donald Trump’s running mate. The New York Times just published that sources within the Trump campaign have given “strong signals” that Indiana Governor Mike Pence will be his choice.

They write:

Donald J. Trump’s campaign has signaled strongly to Republicans in Washington that he will pick Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana, as his running mate, though Republicans caution the party’s mercurial presidential candidate may still backtrack on his apparent choice.

Mr. Trump’s advisers have told national Republican officials that they are preparing to make an announcement with Mr. Pence, according to three people with knowledge of the conversations, who were not authorized to discuss them publicly. His campaign has said that it will unveil a running mate for Mr. Trump in New York on Friday.

Mr. Pence, a former congressman and radio host, emerged over the last week as the strong favorite of Mr. Trump’s political advisers and senior officials in the Republican Party.

But Mr. Trump himself has sent conflicting signals in recent days, as he has subjected his potential running mates to a final round of screening. He addressed a rally in Indiana alongside Mr. Pence on Tuesday night and met privately with him several times.

Trump will formally announce his choice Friday morning at 11:00a (EST) at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York City.

It will probably be Pence, but I wouldn’t be shocked if this were some sort of misdirection either.

If his choice is Pence, some conservatives are pleased with the choice.

“Mr. Trump’s selection of Gov. Mike Pence is an affirmation of the pro-life commitments he’s made and will rally the pro-life grassroots,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser in a released statement. “Gov. Pence has proven to be a pro-life champion both during his time in Congress and as Governor of Indiana. It was Mike Pence who led the effort to defund Planned Parenthood in Congress, and it was Gov. Pence who signed into law a historic bill protecting unborn children from lethal discrimination in the womb. Mike Pence is a pro-life trailblazer and Mr. Trump could not have made a better choice.”

Not everyone is excited this choice.

Karen Effrem, with Ed Liberty Watch and Florida Stop Common Core Coalition, wrote at Truth in American Education expressed concern about his education policy.

Governor Pence began his political career as a strong conservative, including on education. He chaired one of the most conservative caucus groups in the U.S. House, the Republican Study Committee, and was one of only 40 House members to presciently vote against No Child Left Behind.

Unfortunately, Pence evolved toward the Chamber of Commerce/corporate establishment position once he became governor of Indiana. He signed a school-choice law that requires all students at a private school that receives state school voucher funds to take the same public-school Common Core tests, thereby harming private-school autonomy and private schools’ role as an escape hatch from Common Core-aligned schools. This rated an ‘F’ on our Freedom of Choice Grading Scale.

Even worse, Pence was the first Republican governor to crow about having removed Common Core from his state, while facilitating a deceitful rebrand of the standards despite warnings from parent activists. Now he’s pushing “competency-based education” (a repeat of discredited “outcome-based education”) so desired by Jeb Bush, Bill Gates, and other education reformers.

Pence’s surrender to the powerful special interests on education, as well as his caving in to LGBT extremists on a religious-freedom law, establishes that he doesn’t have the fortitude to defend whatever conservative principles he may hold.

He was also recently rebuked by pastors in his own home state.

The Rev. Ron Johnson Jr., standing with 19 other clergy who are part of his Indiana Pastors Alliance, told a cheering crowd of more than 150 people that Pence and other Republican leaders had failed to “stand for biblical truth.” In bending to pressure from business, media and gay rights activists, Johnson said, they were guilty of a “cowardly capitulation.”

“You failed us,” Johnson said. “And in doing so, you betrayed the trust of millions of Hoosiers who elected you to protect the liberties we hold so dear.”

Joy Pullmann, an Indiana resident, in 2014 noted a shift away from conservatism after becoming governor though his advocacy of four statist policies.

I made my case as to why Pence should have jumped off the Trump Veepstakes ship earlier this month as well.

Ultimately this is an uninspiring choice. Donald Trump desperately needed diversity on his ticket which he won’t get from Pence (obviously qualifications are first and foremost which is why the GOP needs somebody else at the top of the ticket). Pence also isn’t from a swing state so he won’t help in that regard. His conservative bona fides since becoming governor is in question as well.

The only benefit one can point to is Pence’s conservative record in Congress, and the fact he has experience where Trump does not.

Ultimately, as I pointed out on Facebook yesterday, this choice will not make an impact on my vote.

I don’t anticipate that happening.

Update: One reporter, Kelly O’Donnell of NBC News, said to hold up on the Pence proclamation, there was some uncertainty.

CNN later said that they had confirmed Pence was asked and he accepted. This will mean he is dropping out of his reelection bid.

Update 2: Trump is postponing the announcement because of the terrorist attack in Nice, France.

Update 3: Ok, now Donald Trump is saying he hasn’t made his “final, final decision.”

Trump on Fox News tonight said:

I haven’t made my final, final decision. I’ve got three people who are fantastic. I think Newt is a fantastic person. I think Chris Christie is a fantastic person, been a friend of mine for 15 years. Just a fantastic person And there’s Mike, and Mike has done a great job as governor of Indiana. You look at the numbers and it’s been great. He’s really done a fantastic job. But I haven’t made a final, final decision.

The deadline for Pence to file for reelection is 12:00p (EST) tomorrow. I’m sure Pence just loved hearing Trump say that.

Update 4: Yes it is finally official! The drama last night was totally unnecessary.

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