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Leaders nix allowing Pence presidential, governor bids

January 6, 2015

The leaders of the Indiana House and Senate aren't going along with a proposal to change state law so that fellow Republican Gov. Mike Pence could run both for re-election and the White House in 2016.

House Speaker Brian Bosma said Tuesday he just didn't think it was a good idea.

"It does not seem to me to be good public policy to give elected officials the opportunity to run for a federal and a state office at the same time, whether it is a legislator running for Congress or a secretary of state running for president," he said.

The bill sponsored by state Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, would allow a sitting governor or state lawmaker to simultaneously seek re-election and election to a federal office.

Pence has stoked speculation that he'll enter the 2016 Republican presidential race and has said he'll make a decision after the legislative session ends in April.

Pence earlier on Tuesday called the bill a "well-intentioned distraction," but said nothing to discourage it.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long essentially killed Delph's bill on Tuesday by assigning it to the Senate Rules Committee, which is a committee he leads and rarely advances any legislation. Long told reporters he believed Indiana's current law allowing a candidate to only seek a single state or federal office was appropriate.

Delph said he believed the state should removal obstacles so that its governor could be in the national conversation for president.

Bosma said he wasn't worried about whether Pence was putting off a decision about entering the White House race until after the legislature adjourns.

"I'm sure the governor's future will take care of itself," he said.

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