According to Politico:
Pence, a darling of the conservative movement, would leave the leadership job with a blunt explanation to colleagues that he cant commit to a two-year term in House leadership, a source familiar with his deliberations told Politico Tuesday.
Pence believes it would be inappropriate to keep his GOP conference post the number three spot in the House Republican hierarchy unless he could stay through 2012, the source said. He also believes that he can be a more effective conservative voice if freed of those responsibilities.
Pence spokesman Matt Lloyd emphasized that the Indiana congressman's sole focus remains on winning back the majority in Congress and [he] believes that speculating about who will occupy what leadership position in the next Congress is looking past the playoffs and out of place.
Pence was the winner of a recent presidential straw poll at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C.
According to Hoosier Nation:
Pence placed first with 24 percent in the straw poll of 723 social conservatives at the Family Research Councils fifth annual Values Voter Summit. Huckabee took second place with 22 percent, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney came in third with 13 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich took fourth with 10 percent. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin took fifth with 7 percent.
All in all, the congressman beat out 16 other leading Republicans in the straw poll ballot.
Pence, 51, has become increasingly popular, emerging as a conservative leader in the Republican Party. He led the campaign to insure that social issues, such as the commitment to life and a commitment to marriage," would not be ignored in the new Republican agenda. Likewise, he proved to be a gutsier Republican than most when he indicated his intent to reform Medicare and Social Security in ways that will ensure its long-term fiscal solvency, by way of privatization one of many issues most Republicans are unwilling to take on so close to the midterm elections.
Pence explained his intent to address social issues:
Now I know some say that Republicans should stay away from such issues this year that the American people are focused on jobs and spending and our movement would do well to stand aside, bank the win and return to fight after this fiscal and economic crisis has passed.
But we do not live in a world where an American leader can just focus on our financial ledger. A political party that would govern this great nation must be able to handle more than one issue at a time. We must focus on our fiscal crisis and support our troops. We must work to create jobs and protect innocent human life.
To those who say we should focus on cutting spending, I say "Ok, lets start by denying all federal funding for abortion at home and abroad! Stop funding research that destroys human embryos in the name of science, and lets deny any and all funding to Planned Parenthood of America."
We must not remain silent when great moral battles are being waged. Those who would have us ignore the battle being fought over life have forgotten the lessons of history. As in the days of a house divided, Americas darkest moments have come when economic arguments trumped moral principles. Men and women, we must demand, here and now, that the leaders of the Republican Party stand for life and to do so without apology.
Pence has not kept his aspirations for higher office secret, either. On his Facebook page, he observed:
I believe the best chance this nation has to restore fiscal discipline, common sense, and common values to Washington, D.C., is for conservatives to retake the House in 2010. I hope that God will someday permit me to perform some wider service to the people of Indiana and the country.
Fox News reports that Pence is considering a gubernatorial bid in 2012. Life News, which dubs Pence one of the most respected pro-life leaders on Capitol Hill, explains:
Pence would seek the gubernatorial post currently held by pro-life Governor Mitch Daniels, who is himself a potential Republican presidential candidate though he hurt himself with talk of a social issues truce on issues like abortion.
On Pence, CBN News reports, The Tea Party loves him, social conservatives love him, and national security hawks respect him. Thats the GOP Triple Crown.
According to the National Journal, the Indiana congressman may be inspired by more than just a higher office in his predicted decision to step aside as the House GOPs third-ranked member. He has reportedly been agitated with some of the internal maneuverings of the GOP conference, most recently when he and his staff were excluded from helping to design the Pledge to America.
However, Pence affirms his intent to remain focused on the midterm elections, campaigning for House GOP candidates in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Florida, and Indiana, as well as traveling to Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Florida.
On Wednesday, he begins the 2010 Mike Pence Road Team Bus Tour, a three-day ramble around the Hoosier state that will have him making 15 stops for more than a dozen statehouse candidates and four congressional hopefuls Marlin Stutzman, Todd Young, Larry Buschon and Jackie Walorski. Contrast that with House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who is in Memphis; Tupelo, Miss.; Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Northern Virginia, and several stops in the New York City area between now and Friday.
The final (111th Congress) Freedom Index a congressional scorecard keyed on members' votes in line with the U.S. Constitution assigned Rep. Mike Pence a score of 88 percent, based on his adherence to constitutional principles of limited government, national sovereignty, and fiscal responsibility a worthy score for a potential presidential candidate.
Photo: Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., speaks at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, April 10, 2010.: AP Images