INDIANAPOLIS – As he prepares to return once again to Indiana on Friday, Vice President Pence appears to be less a happy campaigner and more someone trying to evade weeks of negative media attention and growing frustration towards him from within his own party.
Vice President Pence’s trip to Indiana for a rally on behalf of America First Policies and a fundraiser for Senate candidates is his third return to the state this month, and his second in just over a week. The increasing trips come as a slew of negative press in-state and nationally has piled up and cast an increasing shadow on Pence in Washington.
The former governor has been ridiculed for his over-the-top pandering and his bare-faced attempts at a power grab within the national Republican Party. George Will, the syndicated conservative columnist, described Pence as “the worst person in government” for his calculated pandering. The New York Times and Indy Star, meanwhile, described mounting frustration from the White House by Pence’s efforts to “control Republican politics” headed into the midterms.
Pence is coming under pressure “for being too deferential [while] also getting accused of annoying Trump’s aides by building up his own political influence,” and so it seems increasingly likely that his frequent trips back home are an attempt to escape a harsh spotlight. The negative attention, however, might start to worry Rep. Braun and other Senate hopefuls who are relying on him to bolster their own campaigns.
“Mike Pence may think he can escape to Indiana to get a free pass from the terrible press he’s been getting in Washington. But Hoosiers haven’t forgotten how unpopular he was as their governor before joining the presidential ticket, and they certainly haven’t forgot about the lasting damage he did while in Indianapolis,” said Michael Feldman, spokesman for the Indiana Democratic Party. “Former governor Pence was unpopular before, he’s becoming unpopular again, and he may yet end up dragging Republicans like Rep. Braun down in the polls by the time we get to November.”