According to Erick Erickson at Redstate, Indiana Congressman Mike Pence has decided against running for the Senate seat currently occupied by the very vulnerable Evan Bayh.
It was only a few weeks ago that my own sources confirmed that a Senate run was a possibility and, given Bayh’s own admission nearly a week ago–in the wake of the Scott Brown victory in Massachusetts–that the Democratic Party has been taken over by the far left, I was under the impression that Bayh was running scared and Pence could easily have closed in for the kill in November. My sources this morning, however, said only that Pence had chosen to stay in the House of Representatives and in his position as Chairman of the House Republican Conference.
Indeed, it is that position which Erickson at Redstate brings into consideration, acknowledging the worry that a Senate run for this fall would undermine his ability to continue effectively in a leadership role with the House GOP at a crucial time. I agree that this must have been a motivating factor — I’ve only had the pleasure of speaking with Congressman Pence on one occasion, but I was left with the distinct impression that he is likely not the type to allow his own personal ambition stand in the way of doing what’s right for the nation as a whole.
I do know that despite a unanimous vote the start of his tenure as House GOP chair came with a little controversy, a natural thing given the failings of the Republican Party in 2006 and 2008 due to the wholehearted abandonment of conservative principles, but I’ve been nothing but impressed with Pence’s work since then. I knew going into the Era of Obama that America would likely emerge, like someone who survived a nasty traffic accident has a newfound respect for life, from this dark time with a newfound respect for freedom and the miracle of our founding — such a transformation, however, might not have been possible without strong leadership.
That being said, in January 2011 the House Republican Conference will elect a new chairman. Pence will certainly keep a leadership role in the House, but without the added responsibility could certainly have more time to devote to personal ambition — this time with minimal interference with his role and responsibility as the representative for the sixth district of Indiana. I hope this decision means that something bigger is forthcoming; and if it does, I only have more respect for the man for sticking around and seeing out his responsibilities as third-ranking Republican in the House.
With a tip of the hat to Erickson, here is the letter Congressman Pence sent out today:
January 26, 2010
Open Letter to Friends and Supporters
As many of you are aware, I have been approached about running for the United States Senate in 2010. Karen and I have been humbled by the outpouring of support and encouragement which we received from across Indiana, especially since there are several capable and qualified candidates already seeking the Republican nomination.
After much prayer and deliberation, I have decided to remain in the House and to seek reelection to the 6th Congressional District in 2010.
I am staying for two reasons. First because I have been given the responsibility to shape the Republican comeback as a member of the House Republican Leadership and, second, because I believe Republicans will win back the majority in the House of Representatives in 2010.
One year ago I was unanimously elected chairman of the House Republican Conference, the third ranking position in House Republican leadership. I accepted that responsibility because I believed that if Republicans returned to their conservative roots, they could win back the confidence of the American people. And I see it happening every day.
As a Republican leader, I have the opportunity to shape the policy and strategy that will return a Republican majority to the Congress in 2010. So my duty is here, in the House, serving my constituents and my colleagues as we fight to restore a conservative majority to the Congress of the United States. I am not going to leave my post when the fate of the House hangs in the balance. My place is here, in that fight, with the brave men and women who will be winning that victory for the American people.
I also am staying because I believe we will win back the majority in the House of Representatives in 2010, and I am excited to be a part of it. While the opportunity to serve in the United States Senate is significant, I believe the best chance this nation has to restore fiscal discipline, common sense and common values to Washington, D.C., is for conservatives to retake the House in 2010. When we win back the House, we will make history and we will have the power to stop the big government plans of this administration and to steer our nation to a more secure, free and prosperous future.
Last fall, Karen and I completed our first full marathon. We finished the 26.2 miles in just under seven hours despite the rigors on this 50 year-old body and despite many opportunities to step off the track and call it a day. Our inspiration for the day came from a verse in the Bible that reads, “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
I believe the race marked out for me in 2010 is in the House of Representatives. I believe that if we run that race with conviction and endurance, we can win back the Congress for the common sense and the common values of the American people, turn this tide of big government back and set the stage for a boundless American future.
Thanks to you all who prayed our little family through this difficult decision. I hope that God will someday permit me to perform some wider service to the people of Indiana and the country, but for now my focus must remain on finishing the job I was elected to do by my constituents and my Republican colleagues; representing conservative values in Congress and winning back the House of Representatives.