Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Donald Trump
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Mike Pence may be Newt Gingrich’s biggest Veep threat

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Donald Trump
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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Donald Trump

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Donald Trump

As former Georgia lawmaker Newt Gingrich continues to jockey to be Donald Trump’s No. 2, one of his biggest rivals for the role is getting an increasing share of the spotlight.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is set to spend a chunk of the day Tuesday with Trump when he visits central Indiana for a rally and a fundraiser – and, ostensibly, a chance for Pence to audition for the role. Multiple media outlets put Pence on Trump’s short list for the Veep gig, and The Washington Times reported Sunday that Pence has a “95 percent probability” of getting asked to join the ticket.

Another sign that the scales may be tipping Pence’s way: Randy Evans, the longtime attorney and adviser to Gingrich, said Trump’s family prefers Pence for the role.

“I don’t think Hillary’s pick is going to make or break her. I really don’t,”  he said on GPB’s “Political Rewind.” “But for Trump, I think the VP pick could be make-or-break.”

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich

Pence and Gingrich are among a handful of top-tier contenders for the gig that include New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who will campaign with Trump on Monday in Virginia, and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who made the rounds on the Sunday morning TV show circuit over the weekend.

Gingrich, meanwhile, has not shied from the speculation that he’s in the running. He is “actively lobbying” for the gig, according to CNN, and he’s made clear that he would serve as Trump’s vice president if he was asked.

“If Trump offers the position and is serious about it, which I think he would be after our conversations, listen, I would feel compelled to serve the country,” Gingrich said on Fox News, confirming that he was being vetted.

As for Pence, the clock is ticking. He’s up for re-election in November, and state law requires him to withdraw his name from the ballot for the governor’s race by Friday because he can’t seek two offices at the same time.

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While we’re on the topic, Gingrich’s former spokesman Andrew Weinstein makes the case in USA Today urging his old boss to reject the gig if Trump offers it.

Here’s a glimpse:

Five years ago, a retired Georgia congressman and former House speaker announced his campaign for president on a Reaganesque platform of optimism, inclusiveness, fiscal responsibility, and global gravitas. Today, that same man is considering joining the ticket of another candidate who makes a mockery of those principles. If he gets an offer, he should turn it down.

On nearly every issue of substance, Trump is a barking repudiation of the inclusive spirit, conservative values and innovative policies that made Newt Gingrich an inspiration to a generation of Republican activists. Rather than carrying forward the Reagan legacy, as Gingrich did with the Contract with America, Trump stands in such stark contrast that even Reagan’s son Michael says his father would likely have voted against him.

Republicans should hope Gingrich will look to the principles he so effectively articulated in 2012 and decline any offer to join the Trump ticket in 2016, so the former speaker can lead the process of healing his party in the years to come.

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Starting in Iowa and New Hampshire, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has brought you every key moment in the 2016 presidential race. A team of AJC journalists will be at this month’s Republican and Democratic national conventions, continuing to provide that deep coverage.

To track major political developments, check in with the Political Insider blog at http://politics.blog.ajc.com/ or the Georgia Politics page at http://www.myajc.com/s/news/georgia-politics/. You can also follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/GAPoliticsNews or Facebook at facebook.com/gapoliticsnewsnow and facebook.com/gregbluesteinajc.


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