CBS News is reporting that Donald Trump will pick Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate. They are reporting that Trump will formally offer the spot to Pence later this afternoon.
Trump is expected to formally announce his pick tomorrow.
Pence, a social conservative former Congressman, signed Indiana’s controversial “religious freedom” law that gave businesses and individuals the right to discriminate against LGBT people. After national outcry, state legislators passed a “fix” to the law’s language that didn’t actually solve any of the problems.
Pence, who disastrously tried to defend the bill on national television, was mocked nationwide for his unwillingness to admit the law discriminated against LGBT people. He signed the bill surrounded by some of the state’s most vociferous anti-LGBT activists and religious leaders.
Pence’s selection would help bolster Trump’s lackluster standing with social conservatives who doubt the candidate’s sincerity on issues like abortion and LGBT rights. Even after backlash to the law cost the state millions of dollars in lost revenue, he refused to consider adding nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people into state law, saying it would harm Christian’s religious freedom to discriminate against people they don’t like.
Former Indiana Speaker of the House John Gregg was set to face Pence in this year’s gubernatorial election. While Gregg only recently became a supporter of LGBT rights, he’s been hitting Pence hard on his bigoted stances. Pence narrowly beat Gregg in the last race for governor and the battle for the state’s top seat has been incredibly close as Gregg has continued to paint the Governor as a homophobic and sexist bigot.
Pence has until tomorrow to withdraw from the gubernatorial race according to Indiana law. The state party will pick a replacement candidate since the primary election has already been held.