The VP nod may not be official yet – but Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is abandoning his gubernatorial bid, all but assuring he’s in line to be Donald Trump’s running mate.
Republican sources tell Fox News that Pence, who faced a Friday deadline to make a decision, will not run for re-election.
This comes amid multiple reports that Pence is in line to be named as Trump’s running mate.
The Trump campaign still insists an offer has not formally been made to anyone.
Trump plans to make his official announcement Friday morning.
The announcement follows a very-public vetting process that included meetings in recent days with Pence, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, among others.
If Trump settles on Pence, who went from dark horse to leading contender in a matter of days, the pick presumably is aimed at galvanizing support from the party’s conservative base as Trump charges into the Republican nominating convention.
Consideration of Pence also has put Trump on the clock. Pence faced a Friday deadline to file paperwork to appear on the official state ballot as either a gubernatorial or vice presidential candidate. Under state law, his name could not appear on the ballot twice.
Pence, now in a tough re-election bid, spent 12 years in Congress including as the leader of the House Republican Conference.
Pence emerged relatively late in the vice presidential stakes.
But he moved almost immediately to the top of the list, considering he gives the Trump campaign much-needed social conservative credentials without the kind of political baggage that Democrats had hoped to exploit in other finalists like Christie or Gingrich.
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser issued a statement calling the expected selection of Pence “an affirmation of the pro-life commitments he’s made and will rally the pro-life grassroots.”
“Mike Pence would make an outstanding running mate,” GOP strategist Rob Burgess said.
Still, Pence is not without some negatives, particularly his handling last year of the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The original law, which he signed, allowed residents and companies being sued by a private party to cite their religious beliefs as a defense. However, critics argued the law would allow discrimination against gays and others.
The national and widespread criticism was so damaging it forced Pence and the state legislature to revise the law to clearly prohibit businesses from denying services to customers based on their sexual preference or gender choice. And it appeared to end Pence’s 2016 presidential aspirations.
The liberal MoveOn issued a statement Thursday calling Pence an “extreme right-wing” governor.