Iowa senator withdraws name from list of potential VPs, endorses Pence

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It seems the shortlist for Donald Trump’s potential running mate is getting a bit shorter and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s odds are looking a bit greater.

Joni Ernst, an Iowa senator that met with Trump Monday, all but removed herself from the vice presidential search when she told POLITICO that she wants to help Trump become president. She said she’s focused on Iowa and the Senate, where she’s “just getting started.”

“I made that very clear to him that I’m focused on Iowa. I feel that I have a lot more to do in the United States Senate. And Iowa is where my heart is,” Ernst told POLITICO Wednesday. “I’m just getting started here. I have a great partner with Chuck Grassley, we’ve been able to accomplish a lot. And I think that President Trump will need some great assistance in the United States Senate and I can provide that.”

“I will probably participate more as an advocate,” Ernst said. “I would love to assist him out on the trail.”

Although Ernst will likely not join Trump on the GOP ticket, she did suggest that Gov. Pence would make the most sense as the vice presidential candidate, given his blend of executive and legislative experience.

“I will admit that I am a Mike Pence fan,” Ernst said. “He is so well rounded, served as a governor and I think he’s a great conservative. So I don’t think he could go wrong.”

Gov. Pence’s Deputy Campaign Manager Marc Lotter issued this statement:

“Governor Pence is flattered by the comments of Senator Joni Ernst. The Governor is an admirer of the Senator’s work on behalf of the people of Iowa. As Governor Pence has said multiple times in recent days, nothing has been offered and nothing has been accepted. Governor Pence remains focused on serving as Governor of Indiana and his re-election this November.”

Another potential running mate also withdrew his name from the shortlist Wednesday. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told The Washington Post in an interview that he has taken himself out of consideration for the position.

Corker said that he informed Trump of his decision during their day together on Tuesday, when the senator had a series of meetings with campaign officials in New York and then flew with the presumptive GOP nominee to an evening rally in North Carolina.

“There are people far more suited for being a candidate for vice president, and I think I’m far more suited for other types of things,” Corker said.

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