The suspense continues: Will Mike Pence run for President? Will he run for Governor of Indiana? Will he start a blog called, “The Pence File?” The suspense is killing me!
Now comes word that Pence is showing up in the key primary state of South Carolina. Read below from Politico:
Dozens of prominent conservatives are scheduled to gather this weekend at the swanky Sanctuary Hotel resort on Kiawah Island in South Carolina, where Indiana Republican Rep. Mike Pence will keynote the invitation-only Awakening Conference’s annual black tie dinner.
Pence joins a parade of other potential GOP 2012 hopefuls who have previously addressed the conference, now held in a key early primary state: Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Jim DeMint and Mitt Romney have all appeared at the gathering at some point in its 16-year history.
The conference—which in previous years has been held at the exclusive golf resort known as The Cloisters in Sea Island, Ga.—is an invitation-only gathering of conservative pols, thinkers and activists that was originally designed to counter the Renaissance Weekend, an event they characterized as a gathering of liberal elites. Former President Bill Clinton co-chaired that gathering in the past, but it has featured guests from both sides of the aisle.
Awakening has a history in presidential politics: In early 2007, it was the forum Romney used to try to explain away the moderate social positions he adopted as Massachusetts governor before pivoting into a presidential run that officially kicked off shortly afterward.
“Now, I wasn’t always a Ronald Reagan conservative. Neither was Ronald Reagan, by the way,” Romney said then.Pence, who has a sterling conservative record, isn’t likely to be on defense this weekend. He’s mulling a presidential bid in 2012, and his most vocal supporters come from the party’s right flank. But Pence is also mulling a bid for governor of Indiana—a move made more likely after sitting Republican Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman announced late last year that she wouldn’t seek the state’s top job.
Former Heritage Foundation vice president Rebecca Hagelin, now an Awakening board member, invited Pence to speak at the conference after getting to know him in Washington and because both send their children to the same Arlington, Va., public school.
“We invited Mike Pence – that was my idea – because he’s a principled leader, represents a real groundswell of Americans who are really tired of the status quo of a bigger government,” Hagelin told POLITICO. “I also think he has a very bright future; he’s pretty much rising to the top as a conservative leader and I thought it would be great for the awakening leaders to see and meet him.”
Another board member, Washington-based Republican consultant Whit Ayres, said Pence was a good fit for the conference because of his strong policy credentials.
“Mike Pence is a prominent conservative policy person, which is one of the main reasons why he was asked. He’s been a leading force in conservative policy circles in the House for some time,” Ayres told POLITICO.
Among this year’s other guests, Ayres said: Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions; Georgia Rep. Tom Price, the incoming chairman of the Republican Policy Committee; and Republican pollster Ed Goeas.
The Awakening conference founder, headhunter Ernest Taylor, refused to share a more extensive guest list for this year’s event, scheduled for Jan. 7-9. “We just don’t want any publicity,” he said in a brief telephone interview with POLITICO.
“It’s a private affair. Have a nice afternoon,” he said curtly before immediately hanging up.