Everything You Need To Know About Mike Pence

Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images.
Update: Mike Pence will make his national debate stage debut Tuesday, as he faces off against Democrat Tim Kaine in the election's first and only scheduled vice presidential debate. Before you tune in, take a few minutes to learn more about the man Donald Trump has chosen as his number two.

Update July 15, 2016:
Vice presidential nominee Mike Pence got his turn on the Republican National Convention stage Wednesday, introducing himself "to those of you who don't know me, which is most of you."

The Indiana governor mostly stuck to the basics during his Wednesday night speech at the Quicken Loans Arena. He touched on his own biography — both in office and as a father. He delivered crowd-pleasing lines about Trump’s work ethic, the GOP's approach on taxes, foreign policy and national security, and the need to defeat the Democrats in November.

And, speaking shortly after another former White House hopeful refused to endorse the current nominee on stage, he championed what he cast as a party ready to unify behind Donald Trump.

Pence's conservative record on social issues has already generated attacks from advocates for abortion access and LGBT rights. His views have even turned off some members of the GOP, who worry that Pence's addition to the ticket will make it harder for the party to attract young voters come November.

“I think Republicans have made it hard for us in many ways for LGBT individuals and allies to vote for us — we haven’t given them as much to go off of,” Rachel Hoff, the first openly gay member of the RNC's Platform Committee, told Refinery29.

Trump seems pleased with his pick — and Pence's performance. He tweeted Tuesday that Pence "was fantastic tonight. Will be a great V.P."

For those who still need an introduction to Pence, we compiled the below primer on the GOP running mate shortly before the selection was made official.

The following story was originally published on July 14 at 5:40 p.m.

Tomorrow morning, Donald Trump will announce his vice presidential pick — and rumors are flying that it will be Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a conservative establishment politician who could help Trump’s faltering reputation within the GOP.

Trump has been the presumptive presidential nominee for the Republican Party since his last opponent, Ohio Gov. John Kasich dropped out of the race in early May. Since then, speculation over who Trump might pick for his second-in-command has run rampant. In the days before the announcement, Pence emerged as a top possibility, along with friend and former primary opponent Chris Christie, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

So, who is Mike Pence? Here are four things to know about the potential new vice presidential candidate.

He has more than a decade of political experience, and is seen as a relatively solid establishment figure.
One qualification Trump has admitted to looking for a running mate is someone who can help his image with a Republican establishment that has often disavowed him or considered him as a wild card. Pence, an established figure in the Republican Party, is a solidly on-message conservative who fits that bill nicely. Pence served for 12 years in the House of Representatives, before being elected governor of Indiana. He’s led the Hoosier State since 2013, and was planning on running for re-election. With experience on both the federal- and state-level, he brings a history of much-needed political expertise to the Trump ticket.

But he knows how to ride the wave of pushback against the establishment.
Pence was an early supporter of the conservative Tea Party movement, which emerged in 2009 out of dissatisfaction with the political establishment. A former aide told NBC News that Pence supported the movement in 2010, and had been against some of the big spending bills opposed by the movement. That instinct for political disillusionment could be beneficial in a campaign that has seen success for its non-establishment status.

He’s a hard-right social conservative.
Pence hews close to the party line on many social issues. He has historically not supported LGBTQ rights, opposing same-sex marriage on both the state and national level, and signing into law a bill which critics say leaves LGBTQ individuals in Indiana vulnerable to discrimination, according to The Indianapolis Star. He’s similarly conservative on reproductive rights: Back in March, he signed into law a bill that heavily restricted abortion and required that information about women be recorded, calling the bill a “comprehensive pro-life measure.” (The bill, which was blocked by a federal judge last month a day before it would have gone into effect, also prompted hilarious protests by women across the state.)

He aligns with the campaign on a subject that’s become central to the Trump candidacy — immigration.
As a member of the House of Representatives in 2006, Pence proposed what he called a “no-amnesty” immigration reform plan, which required all immigrants to leave the country before applying for a work visa to re-enter the country legally, and voted to build a fence along the Mexican border. More recently, Pence was one of the 30 governors who said that they would refuse to admit Syrian refugees into their states after November’s terrorist attacks in Paris, actually turning away a family who had waited three years to be resettled two days before they were due to arrive in Indiana.


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