Internal state politics and a recently scheduled campaign rally have fueled speculation that Republican Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana will join presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's ticket.
Republican insiders have been paying close attention to the Indiana GOP, pointing to several hints that Pence is gearing up to become Trump’s running mate.
Trump is expected to unveil his vice presidential pick shortly before the Republican National Convention, scheduled for July 18-21 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Meanwhile, Pence has until July 15 to decide whether or not he will be seeking re-election. If he declines to do so, GOP insiders insist that will mean he's Trump’s choice, CBS News reports.
Pence is already among the top pool of contenders for the job, being vetted along with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, and retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn.
Constitutional lawyer James Bopp, a confidante of Pence, told The Washington Times that Indiana GOP lawmakers appear convinced that Pence will join Trump’s ticket.
The lawyer disclosed that the Indiana House Speaker, Republican Rep. Brian C. Bosma of Indiana, had consulted with him about mounting his own gubernatorial campaign.
“He wanted my counsel on what he needed to do to set himself up to run for governor, because he expects Pence to step down as governor in order to be Trump’s running mate,” Bopp said.
Indiana GOP Chairman Jeff Cardwell also noted that Trump and Pence are scheduled to hold a fundraiser together in Indianapolis on July 12. The Trump campaign has added an Indiana rally to that date, indicating that the business mogul may announce Pence as his running mate that day.
A betting market known as Predictit currently places the odds of Pence joining Trump’s ticket at 55 percent, according to Market Watch.
Meanwhile, bets for Gingrich becoming the vice presidential pick are at 16 percent, followed by Christie at 10 percent and Flynn coming last with 6 percent odds.
Pence had actually endorsed Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas for president shortly before the Indiana primary in April 2016. While he did not throw his weight behind Trump during that contest, he was very complimentary of the business mogul, according to Politico.
“I particularly want to commend Donald Trump, who I think has given voice to the frustration of millions of working Americans with a lack of progress in Washington, D.C.,” Pence said, indicating that he wanted to remain in the business mogul’s good graces despite declining to endorse him.
An Indiana poll conducted by CEO Bill Oesterle indicated that Pence would face a competitive reelection race against former Democratic Rep. John Gregg of Indiana.
That poll found that Pence only had a lead of 4 percentage points and a net negative favorability rating among Indiana voters, with 40 percent approving and 42 percent disapproving of his job performance.