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Reports: Trump likely to pick Mike Pence as running mate

By Eric DuVall
Reports: Trump likely to pick Mike Pence as running mate
Indiana Governor Mike Pence speaks at the Republican Governors Association's quarterly meeting at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City on May 21, 2014. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

INDIANAPOLIS, July 14 (UPI) -- Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has signaled he will likely select Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to be his vice presidential running mate, according to multiple media reports.

Pence, 57, a first-term governor who is up for re-election, was widely reported to be one of Trump's finalists. Prior to becoming governor, Pence was a six-term congressman with a conservative voting record.

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A Republican source with direct knowledge of the situation told Roll Call on Thursday that Trump would select Pence.

The New York Times followed up shortly thereafter, quoting three unnamed Republicans involved in the process, who said Trump's campaign had signaled to the Republican National Committee that Pence was likely to be the choice.

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The official announcement was scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at Trump Tower in Manhattan, but late Thursday Trump said he had postponed the announcement due to the deadly attack in Nice, France.

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Trump advisers denied Thursday the candidate had made a final decision. Chief strategist Paul Manafort and senior communications adviser Jason Miller both tweeted, saying Trump had not yet made his choice.

The Times reports Pence was regarded by some establishment-aligned conservatives as a safe choice for Trump, whose unorthodox campaign style and policy positions have found him at times at odds with some members of the GOP establishment.

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Pence brings a staunchly conservative record to the ticket. During his six terms in Congress, he voted in favor of a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage and against President Barack Obama's auto bailout and economic stimulus package in 2008.

He voted to ban late-term abortions and has a 0 percent rating from the pro-choice group NARAL.

As governor of Indiana, Pence has moved to cut taxes, restrict the power of labor unions to organize and signed a "religious freedom" bill in the wake of the Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage. The bill ensured business owners would not face legal repercussions for denying service to a potential customer if that customer's request violated the business owner's religious beliefs. Supporters said the law ensured business owners would not be forced to participate in gay or lesbian nuptials. Critics said the legislation legalized discrimination against LGBT individuals.

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Pence is a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights and had an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association.

On the environment, Pence routinely voted against measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gasses and in favor of increased oil and natural gas drilling, including in environmentally sensitive habitats like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He holds a 10 percent rating out of 100 from the League of Conservation Voters for his time in Congress.

Pence voted yes on all five free trade agreements that came before Congress in his 12 years on the Hill, a position that is at odds with Trump, who has assailed free trade deals as job-killers in the United States.

Pence opposed Obama's Affordable Care Act legislation, but as governor, moved to allow the state to expand its health insurance program under Obamacare, accepting millions in additional federal funds through Medicare -- a position many other Republican governors refused to take.

On immigration, Pence voted in 2006 in favor of building a fence on the Mexican border and has spoken in favor of revoking the constitutional right to birthright citizenship. He supports declaring English the national language.

Pence could face questions over his position on a signature Trump proposal, to temporarily ban Muslims from immigrating to the United States in response to terrorist threats. When Trump first made the proposal last year, Pence said publicly it was "offensive and unconstitutional."

Pence is presently locked in a tight race for re-election as Indiana's governor. If he is indeed Trump's pick, he faces a noon Friday deadline in his home state to remove his name from the ballot. Polls dating to May showed Pence in a tossup race against Democrat John Gregg, whom Pence narrowly defeated in 2012.

After that, it would be up to the Indiana Republican Party to name his replacement.

Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told the Indianapolis Star he is not interested in replacing Pence on the ballot and is committed to his present job as president of Purdue University, where he has a contract that runs through 2020.

Pence is governor of the state where Trump effectively clinched the nomination after delivering a stinging defeat to his last rival, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Pence endorsed Cruz late in that contest, though at the time Pence went out of his way to offer praise for Trump, as well.

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