SPEEDWAY, Ind. – As Gov. Mike Pence kicked off a series of campaign events Wednesday, he deflected questions about whether Donald Trump’s campaign had reached out regarding a potential vice presidential pick.
POLITICO first reported Tuesday that Pence had “received vetting overtures from Trump Tower.”
“I have no interest in that,” Pence said when asked twice by FOX 59 whether the campaign had reached out. “As you can tell, I’m fired up about the future of the state of Indiana. This is a very unique time in the life of our state.”
Pence and Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb first stopped at the Dallara IndyCar Factory in Speedway before campaigning in Danville and Fort Wayne.
Alongside a group of supporters, Pence and Holcomb arrived on a bus plastered with the campaign tour’s new slogan, “Start Your Engines.”
“I am here to say the primary is over, and the green flag has dropped, and the race is on to the checkered flag for a brighter future,” Pence said.
While testing his new stump speech, the governor quickly turned his attention to opponent John Gregg, focusing on his tenure in the Indiana State Legislature.
“And where we’ve stood strong for the Second Amendment and the sanctity of life, Speaker John Gregg has made more left turns than AJ Foyt and Rick Mears combined.”
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll published days before Indiana’s primary last week showed Pence’s approval and disapproval rating split at 43 percent.
A handful of protesters stood outside as Pence talked, chanting “Pence must go.”
“That’s what freedom looks like, and that’s what freedom sounds like,” Pence said. “I respect the opinions of every Hoosier to be heard, and I look forward to a good vigorous debate.”
Gregg’s campaign said he plans to announce a running-mate shortly after Memorial Day.
“I think today is an example of the desperation of Mike Pence,” Jeff Harris said, communications director for the Gregg campaign. “People don’t like his brand of leadership focusing on social issues and not the economy.”
Harris said Gregg continues to travel the state, meeting with Hoosiers and raising money.
“People are more open to John Gregg this time,” he said. “Sure he’s a Democrat, but he’s a moderate who has a wealth of experience.”
The Pence-Gregg race will be a rematch of 2012.
But both campaigns are promising a very different six months leading up to the November election.
“I think it’s time,” Pence said. “I think it’s time we lay out a choice. I think Hoosiers have a real opportunity now to choose a future.”
Pence also weighed in Friday on the national debate over new federal guidelines dealing with transgender students and school bathrooms.
In a written statement, Pence said:
"I have long believed that education is a state and local function. Policies regarding the security and privacy of students in our schools should be in the hands of Hoosier parents and local schools, not bureaucrats in Washington, DC. The federal government has no business getting involved in issues of this nature. I am confident that parents, teachers and administrators will continue to resolve these matters without federal mandates and in a manner that reflects the common sense and compassion of our state."