Pence attended Hannover College before heading to Indiana University to obtain his Juris Doctor. Pence grew up Catholic and registered as a Democrat when he turned 18. However, Pence would leave the Catholic Church, becoming an evangelical born-again Christian.
He would leave the Democratic party with the emergence of Ronald Reagan. Pence would run for Congress in 1988 and 1990. Pence would fail both times. His 1990 attempt was overshadowed by his use of political donations to pay his mortgage, credit card bill, groceries, and gold tournament fees.
At the time, usage of donations for personal use was not illegal but frowned upon by the voters. Pence would move to daily talk radio in Indianapolis.
In 2000, Pence ran for House of Representatives, winning comfortably in the 2nd District of Indiana. His time as a Representative can be described as good for him and inefficient for the people of Indiana.
Pence would rise into party leadership positions, making it to the third-highest-ranking position as the Republican Conference Chairman. When it comes to legislation, he introduced a mere 90 bills in his 13 years in Congress, with zero becoming law.
In 2012, Pence would turn to the governorship. The election was the closest in decades. Only 75,000 votes, or 3%, separated Pence and the Democratic challenger. Pence would ultimately prevail as the winner.
Pence’s tenure as Governor was the standard conservative governorship. His governorship can be considered a mixed bag. Job growth lagged behind the national average. The state’s GDP growth was among the slowest in the United States. Tax cuts were a priority, with cuts to corporate, inheritance, and income tax.
However, these cuts came with other cuts to the budget. Colleges & universities, Social Services, and Corrections all saw cuts to their budget. Pence would push funding for private and charter schools over public schools. His government oversaw one of the most restrictive abortion bans, which banned fetal abnormality as an acceptable reason for an abortion.
This ban would be ruled unconstitutional by the US Court of Appeals in 2018. Another stain on the Pence Governorship was his lack of action to cease an HIV outbreak in Indiana, which would result in one of the largest HIV outbreaks (related to drug use) in the history of the United States.
In 2016, Pence initially filed to run for re-election, before dropping out of the race after being selected by Donald Trump to be his Vice President.
Pence’s selection as Vice President is chalked up to his ties to the more conservative members of the party, like evangelicals, and his ties to the Koch brothers, multi-billionaire donors of the party. There were two defining arcs of Pence’s time as VP.
First, Pence led the White House Coronavirus Task Force. This time Pence would send mixed messages about the virus and safety, touring a hospital without a mask in April 2020, a message that he would regret and would apologize for doing. Another mixed message would come in late June of the same year when Pence would give a hope fill press conference.
However, numerous statements made in the press conference were false or misleading about the current state of the pandemic. The second defining arc came in 2021. When Donald Trump, who had claimed the 2020 Presidential election had been stolen from him, began to pressure Pence to overturn election results, believing he had the power to do this (he didn’t).
On January 6th, Trump publicly pressured Pence to “do the right thing.” Once Pence failed to overturn the results, individuals who stormed the Capitol reportedly called for Pence to be hung. Pence’s rejection and the actions of rioters created a rift between him and Trump, effectively ending their relationship.
Mike Pence follows the typical conservative values of the Republican party, aligning with the party on most issues. The difference between the Republican party and Pence is Donald Trump. Pence has come out and denounced Trump multiple times. Mainly for Trump’s actions on January 6th.
Pence’s campaign has been among the better campaigns, but still far from victory. Current polls have him sitting at 5.2% of the vote, putting him in a distance fourth place. Pence may or may not be on the August debate stage because of the RNC clause to support the Republican nomination, which could be Donald Trump. He has not publicly released the number of donors, but he did meet the poll requirement.