Pence set to announce running-mate pick

May 18, 2012

Republican Mike Pence's campaign said Friday he will announce his running mate in his campaign for Indiana governor on Monday.

The announcement, at a yet-to-be-named location in Evansville, will kick off a series of events in Elkhart, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis and Merrillville.

Pence spokeswoman Christy Denault would not comment on who was being considered. She said Pence "is looking for someone of a high character who has private sector experience and understands how state government works."

Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said he has been lobbying Pence to pick a state representative for the ticket.

"I told him I thought he needed balance on the ticket, I felt there was an expectation for a strong female candidate and one that had experience in economic development and it would be nice addition to have legislative experience," Bosma said Friday.

There are 10 women in the 60-member House Republican caucus. Rep. Sue Ellspermann, R-Ferdinand, has been mentioned by Republicans as a top prospect for months and meets the criteria laid out by Pence and Bosma: she is a former member of the Evansville Chamber of Commerce and she works on the House's economic development committee.

Ellspermann also would bring regional balance to the ticket, with a home near the traditionally-Democratic stronghold of Evansville.

She said Friday any answers about who would join the Pence ticket would have to come from his campaign. Asked about her work in economic development, she talked about her role leading the University of Southern Indiana's Center for Applied Research, which helps turn commercialize research and generate new business.

"I'm flattered to even be mentioned in the same sentence as Mike Pence," Ellspermann said.

Pence will face Democrat John Gregg and Libertarian Rupert Boneham in the November election to replace term-limited GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Pence hails from Columbus and was a radio talk show host before joining Congress in 2010. An Ellspermann pick would seem pointed at denting Gregg's regional base, the former House speaker is a southwestern Indiana Democrat from Sandborn with strong ties in the region.

Pence's running mate pick will have to be confirmed at the state Republican convention on June 9.

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