Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump ended speculation this week with the announcement of his running mate: Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Pence, who has served in the House of Representatives in addition to serving as governor, highlights core constituencies (and donors) Trump will need to win the White House in November.
Ideologically, Pence is the most conservative presidential or vice presidential nominee on record since the FEC began gathering donor data in 1980. With a Crowdpac score of 7.8C, Pence is far more conservative than Trump, who scores a moderate 5.1C. Compared to the 2012 Republican ticket, Trump and Pence are ideologically similar to Mitt Romney (5.1C) and Paul Ryan (7.1C), respectively. Considering Ryan is now Speaker of the House, selecting a vice president with similar values could go a long way in soothing Trump’s notoriously rocky relationship with establishment politicians.
Pence’s biggest backers are largely from entrepreneurial and manufacturing fields in the state of Indiana. His largest donor is Dean White, the billionaire hotel and hospitality mogul, who has given $425,000 to him over his career. He’s also a favorite of the Koch brothers, most notably David Koch, who has contributed $200,000. Of Pence’s top 20 donors, none of them have given to Donald Trump or any Trump-supporting PACs. In fact, two of Pence’s top 20 donors have given to Our Principles PAC, a conservative anti-Trump PAC -- Allan B. Hubbard, former Director of the National Economic Counsel under President George W. Bush, and Craig Duchossois, CEO of an investment firm.
Pence also brings a long history of support from key groups that propelled Trump to the nomination, potentially shoring up a still-growing fundraising operation. Among the top occupations for Pence’s donors: manufacturing, construction, food service, and retired. Throughout Trump’s primary campaign, exit polls have shown his strongest support lies within these sectors.
It has been reported that the Koch brothers will stay on the sidelines for the 2016 presidential election, even with Pence on the ticket. Whether their stance holds remains to be seen. Trump’s choice of Pence is seen by many as an attempt to placate traditional and establishment conservatives who have worried about Trump’s ideological consistency and unconventional nature. Trump surely hopes to buoy his fundraising from GOP elites after a fairly slow start, and choosing Pence may turn out to be the first step.
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Header Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore.