The entire GOP primary picture may hinge on the upcoming decision of Indiana Conressman, Mike Pence. There's been vast speculation as of late on whether Pence will run for President, but people on the ground in Indiana have been claiming for a while that he's been quietly assembling a team to make a run at the Governor's mansion.
Pence's decision appears to have hinged on whether or not popular Lieutenant Governor, Becky Skillman would decide to enter the race. As National Review's, Jim Geraghty reports, Skillman has decided against a run, due to health reasons.
Skillman is the Lieutenant Governor of Indiana, and she recently decided to not run for governor in 2012, citing health issues. Because she won’t be running as a Republican and Evan Bayh isn’t running on the Democrat side, the field appears to be clear for Congressman Mike Pence to run for the job of governor if he wants it more than he wants to run for president.As Geraghty points out, this opens the door for Sarah Palin. But, what about Mike Huckabee? Does this not open the door for Huck to swoop in and lock up the social conservative wing of the GOP? Perhaps, but it's looking more more likely as time goes on that he's satisfied with his current situation.
At Ace of Spades, Drew M. follows the dominoes: “Pence’s decision is probably a pretty big domino in the race. He seems to be a candidate that fits Sarah Palin’s criteria, so if he runs, she may not. Obviously, the reverse is true (unless another candidate steps up). Palin’s decision probably has an impact on whether or not Mike Huckabee runs, since it seems there’s a good bit of overlap in their voters. Of course all of that will have an impact on Mitt Romney’s chances.”
If Pence runs for governor instead of president, that probably brings in Palin.
Would Huckabee would hesitate in the face of Palin? I had a chance to hang around with the former Arkansas governor in a Fox News green room recently, and he reinforced my sense that it’s impossible to not like Huckabee personally. I won’t get into any specifics, since I think it’s rude to quote casual conversations, but I’d say he seems pretty happy doing his television show.According to Jonah Goldberg, he's so happy doing his television show that "he's got a big new contract with Fox News in the works." Let's hope for Huck's sake, that report is accurate. He's currently in the process of building a $3 million dollar home in Florida.
Huckabee's reluctance to make another run for the White House shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. His lack of ability to raise money, poor showing in mid-term endorsements in some key races, and his apparent disdain for presidential politics must be weighing heavily on his mind. In addition, with Palin in the race, he'd most likely split the social conservative vote with Palin, thereby clearing the field for his arch-nemesis, Mitt Romney. I doubt that he's interested in enabling that scenario to play out.
So, stay tuned. All indications are that Pence's decision will be made in short order. I, for one, am a huge fan of Mike Pence. I think he'll make a terrific Governor.
Read the rest of Geraghty's article HERE.