Irish American Congressman Mike Pence, 50, has decided not to challenge Senator Evan Bayh in Indiana for the Senate seat there.But the rumors are that the House Republican Conference Chairman may be looking at a White House bid for 2012.
The Huffington Post reports that Pence's name is being increasingly thrown around as a new face for 2012. He is currently the No. 3 figure in the House leadership and if the GOP were to win back the House in November it would be in large measure thanks to his advocacy and behind the scenes work.
A rock-ribbed conservative, if Pence were to run for the GOP nomination in 2012, he would have immediate Tea Party support.
He angered some of those same conservatives however, when he declared that he was willing to strike a deal on immigration reform with Democrats last year.
The reason he gave was his Irish grandfather. When asked about the reason he stated to The New York Times.
"April 11, 1923.”
That was when his Irish grandfather, Richard Michael Cawley, a Chicago bus driver, came through Ellis Island.
“We were especially close,” said Pence, who stated that he sees his grandfather’s thrift and hard work in today’s immigrant generation.
Pence also met with the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR) during that immigration bill battle.
Pence spent the better part of a year working in Ireland when he was younger. He bartended and cut turf in County Clare and almost stayed there.
Despite his Irish Catholic heritage, Pence changed his religion to fundamentalist and has been a strong proponent of traditional church values ever since.
“Mike Pence could either be Speaker of the House or President,” predicted one Washington insider.