In a highly expected move, Republican Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) has announced he'll run for Governor of Indiana in 2012. Telling supporters in a Thursday conference call, "I'm in this race."
"Our reasons for entering this race are really two-fold," Pence said, according to the Indianapolis Star. "First, as lifelong Hoosiers, we love this state. ... The opportunity to lead the good and great people of this state would be the greatest privilege of our lives. Second, we believe our state is on the verge of an era of growth and opportunity like no other in our lifetime."
Pence announced in November that he planned to step down from his role as House Republican Conference Chairman, a decision many saw as the first step in a run for higher office. The six-term congressman had been rumored as the republican favorite as governor nominee in recent months, a rumor that was reinforced upon his quashing earlier this year of a presidential run.
According to the Star, Pence had planned to make his decision official on Monday but refrained because of the death of Osama bin Laden. His staff filed the paperwork Thursday morning, and a campaign fund raising effort called "Mike Pence for Indiana" is already up and running, according to the Evansville Courier & Press.
The Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker released a statement on Pence's announcement, accusing the congressman of being an absentee representative.
"Congressman Mike Pence loves Washington, so much so that he made his campaign announcement from there instead of heading back to the heartland and standing with the Hoosiers he wants to represent," the statement read.
Curiously, Pence, shares credentials as a former lawyer and talk show host with the candidate expected to run on the democratic side of the ballot, former State Rep. John Gregg, who attended Indiana University School Of Law and once hosted an Indianapolis call in radio show.