SHELBYVILLE, Ind. – Weaving through a sea of fair-goers at the Shelby County Fair, Gov. Mike Pence continued campaigning for governor Tuesday evening.
“Thanks for coming,” a resident said. “Nice to meet you.”
Yet while wearing a shirt proclaiming “Mike Pence Governor,” it’s become increasingly difficult to ignore the speculation centered on Washington politics and the presumed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
“I’m ready, willing and able to help Donald Trump anywhere he asks us to help him,” Pence said Tuesday night when talking with reporters.
The governor and First Lady Karen Pence met Trump this past weekend in New Jersey. Pence and Trump even played a round of golf at one of Trump’s golf courses.
A report published by NBC News Tuesday night said both Pence and Newt Gingrich “have seen their stock rise inside Trump Tower,” adding “Pence and Gingrich are the two that most fulfill Trump’s acknowledgment that he wants to find a governing partner” in a vice presidential pick.
Pence continued his now token phrase, saying nothing has been offered and nothing accepted.
“I would have to refer you to the campaign for whatever process they’re involved in,” Pence said. “I would just tell you as a family, we were truly grateful to spend time with the Trumps this past weekend.”
The growing speculation nationally has quickly fueled public intrigue and local criticism, too.
“The only golf I really knew how to play was miniature golf at Linton at the city park,” John Gregg said, Pence’s Democratic opponent in the governor’s race.
Gregg sat alongside Chuck Jones Tuesday afternoon, the union president representing 1,400 Indianapolis Carrier employees whose jobs are being moved to Mexico. The union initially endorsed Bernie Sanders’ campaign.
Trump again criticized the Carrier move Tuesday night during a rally in North Carolina.
“Him and Trump,” Jones said. “That’d be a hell of a team. All we need to do on that is throw a circus tent up and get a couple of elephants and couple lions and we’d have a hell of a circus going on.”
Pence stuck to his talking points at the fair, still publicly reserved about the notion of going to Washington, yet leaving the door open if asked.
“I love my job and I love my country,” Pence said. “And we haven’t been asked to consider any other job than the one we have. So I’m out here at the Shelby County Fair working to earn re-election as governor of the state of Indiana, and that will continue to be our focus.”