Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) will step down from his position as the number three Republican in the House.
In a letter to colleagues this morning, Pence informed his colleagues that he won’t seek re-election to his leadership post next Congress, hinting that he may soon be unable to fulfill his leadership duties as he prepares a run for Indiana governor.
“As we consider new opportunities to serve Indiana and our nation in the years ahead, I have come to realize that it may not be possible to complete an entire term as Conference Chairman,” Pence wrote. “As such, I think it would be more appropriate for me to step aside now, especially since there are other talented men and women in our Conference who could do the job just as well or better.”
Pence’s ambitions outside of Congress are well known. He’s believed to be considering a run for governor of Indiana, and possibly the presidency. As I reported last week, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) is a top candidate to replace Pence as conference chair. You can read the entire letter below the fold.
Congratulations on your reelection. Your efforts contributed mightily to a great victory for the American people and, as a member of your Republican leadership, I am personally grateful.
I am writing to inform you that, after much prayerful consideration, I have decided not to seek re-election as Chairman of the House Republican Conference.
Two years ago, you unanimously elected me to serve as House Republican Conference Chairman, and it has been an honor to serve you.
During my acceptance speech in November of 2008, I told the Conference, “If we can boldly return our party to the practice and promotion of a common sense conservative agenda, I believe we will win back the majority in 2010.”
I will always be grateful for the confidence shown in me by John Boehner and you, and I am proud of the small role I played in helping our team win back a majority.
You deserve to know why I have chosen not to seek re-election as Conference Chairman.
After two consecutive losses for our party, the Republican Leader asked me to help lead House Republicans back to the majority, and I felt it was my duty to do so. I have always believed people should keep their promises and complete the assignments they have been given. As you recall, that’s why I declined offers to run for the U.S. Senate in the middle of my term as Chairman.
Now that we have restored a Republican majority to the House of Representatives and I have fulfilled my commitment to the Republican Conference, my family and I have begun to look to the future.
As we consider new opportunities to serve Indiana and our nation in the years ahead, I have come to realize that it may not be possible to complete an entire term as Conference Chairman. As such, I think it would be more appropriate for me to step aside now, especially since there are other talented men and women in our Conference who could do the job just as well or better.
I do not know what the future holds for my little family, but I do know who holds the future. So for now, we will continue our duties serving the people of Indiana and do what we have always done in such times; we will wait on the Lord and follow where He leads. We certainly welcome your prayers and your counsel in the days ahead.
As I complete my duties as your Conference Chairman, I have but one regret - saying goodbye to the finest Conference staff ever. Building on the foundation of my predecessor, we built a team of men and women of integrity and a servant’s heart. Whatever success we had over the past two years is owed entirely to the professionalism and character of our staff.
Finally, let me say, I am in no way leaving the fight. In fact, I look forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with you as we confront the challenges before us. The American people have given us a second chance and they deserve a Congress that represents their principles. While we should always seek areas of genuine common ground with the opposition, we must avoid the temptation to embrace agreement for agreement’s sake. We must never compromise on our commitment to end this era of runaway federal spending, borrowing, bailouts, deficits and debt. We must never shrink from our stand for a strong national defense, fiscal responsibility, individual liberty, and traditional moral values. We must regularly remind ourselves that the American people showed us the door in 2006 and 2008 not because we compromised too little, but because we compromised too much on key principles.
Our country is in trouble. A nation conceived in liberty has come of age in bondage to big government. We’ve lost respect in the world. We are going broke, the American dream is dying for millions and our social and cultural fabric is unraveling. Our people are looking for leaders who will confront these challenges with solutions grounded in timeless American values.
My challenge to you as a colleague and a fellow American is this: Be bold and courageous. Do not allow political winds to sway you from doing the hard thing and standing up for the basic principles upon which our nation was founded. We have been given an awesome responsibility and a second chance. If we prove to be true to our word and act with courage, the American people will stand with us.
Again, thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Conference Chairman. It has been one of the greatest honors of my service in Congress.
Mike PenceBrian Beutler
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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