Rep. Mike Pence Steps Down As Republican Conference Chair

By Susan Jones | November 3, 2010 | 11:40 AM EDT

Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., speaks to people gathered at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010 for a "Remember in November" rally to express opposition to government spending. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

( – In another hint that he plans to run for president in 2012, Republican Mike Pence (R-Ind.) announced on Wednesday that he is stepping down as chairman of the House Republican Conference, a position he’s held for two years.

Pence said he made the decision after “much prayerful consideration,” and after playing a “small role” in helping Republicans win back a majority in the House of Representatives.

“Now that we have restored a Republican majority to the House of Representatives and I have fulfilled my commitment to the Republican Conference, my family and I have begun to look to the future,” Pence wrote to his fellow Republicans on Wednesday.

“As we consider new opportunities to serve Indiana and our nation in the years ahead, I have come to realize that it may not be possible to complete an entire term as Conference Chairman. As such, I think it would be more appropriate for me to step aside now, especially since there are other talented men and women in our Conference who could do the job just as well or better.”
The House Republican Conference is the organizational body for all Republican House Members. It is responsible for electing the House Republican leadership, approving Republicans’ committee assignments, managing Republican-driven floor debates, and executing a unified Republican communications strategy.

Pence said he doesn’t know what the future holds for his family, so he will “wait on the Lord and follow where He leads.” In the meantime, Pence said he is not “leaving the fight” as Republicans – given a “second chance” by voters -- confront the challenges before them.

“While we should always seek areas of genuine common ground with the opposition, we must avoid the temptation to embrace agreement for agreement’s sake,” Pence said.

“We must never compromise on our commitment to end this era of runaway federal spending, borrowing, bailouts, deficits and debt. We must never shrink from our stand for a strong national defense, fiscal responsibility, individual liberty, and traditional moral values.  We must regularly remind ourselves that the American people showed us the door in 2006 and 2008 not because we compromised too little, but because we compromised too much on key principles.”

As previously reported, Pence won a presidential straw poll at the Value Voters Summit in Washington on Sept. 18.

Around 700 conservatives gave Pence 24 percent of the vote. Former Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee was a close second with 22 percent of the vote, followed by Mitt Romney (13 percent), Newt Gingrich (10 percent), Sarah Palin (7 percent) and Rick Santorum and Jim DeMint (5 percent each).

See earlier story:
Pence Beats Huckabee, Romney, Gingrich and Palin in Presidential Straw Poll