WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS) – Donald Trump has selected Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to be his running mate–he is expected to formally call Pence Thursday afternoon, reports CBS News’ Major Garrett, citing a GOP official close to the process.
The addition of Pence to the ticket may help assuage concerns among conservatives worried that Trump is too moderate on social issues. It also takes Pence out of a tough reelection fight in the Hoosier State against Democrat John Gregg, whom Pence beat narrowly in 2012. Polls taken this spring showed Pence’s lead within the margin of error.
In North Carolina, Republicans are getting set to head to Cleveland for the Convention and the buzz has been about Pence.
Several supporters who spoke with CBS North Carolina say they know of Pence but not much about him.
“Voters in North Carolina really are looking for someone to shoot it from the hip and be honest and straightforward with them just like Donald Trump is,” Kami Mueller said.
Duke University political analyst David Rohde says Pence is well-established and had good relationships within the party.
“One strategy in picking vice presidential candidates is do no harm,” Rohde said. “I think Pence is a “do no harm” sort of candidate.”
But he’s not well known to voters yet. A CBS Poll found that more than 80 percent of voters don’t know him or enough about him to have an opinion.
Pence was born into a family of Irish Catholic Democrats in 1959. He became a born-again evangelical Christian after meeting his future wife, Karen, at a protestant church during college.
Before becoming governor, Pence served in the House of Representatives for six terms where he was known as a staunch conservative, opposing both President George W. Bush’s expansion of Medicare and the bank bailouts of 2008.
He did, however, propose an immigration compromise in 2006 that would have created a guest worker program. The proposal went nowhere, and angered many conservatives. Since then, Pence has taken a harder line on immigration.
Pence is best known nationally for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, which opponents said opened the door for legal discrimination against gays. The ensuing battle over the law saw Pence at odds with Indiana’s business community amid calls for corporations to boycott the state, and his approval rating dropped as much as 15 points in some polls.
The Indiana legislature passed a “fix” to the law, which Pence signed, drawing criticism from some conservatives who thought the law had been watered down too much.