Should Pence seize the moment and make a run for president?

By Maureen Groppe,

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Mike Pence has to be flattered.

While he has said he will decide his political future — which could be running for governor or president — by the end of this month, there is a campaign to push the Columbus Republican toward the White House.

A group of South Carolina lawmakers stood on the steps of their state Capitol on Wednesday to encourage Pence to run.

“It’s not a complicated message, but it’s a heartfelt one,” state Rep. Kris Crawford said. “We would like him on the ballot.”

Leaders of the conservative movement made the same argument in a letter to Pence this week.

“Seize this moment, Mike,” said the letter, signed by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey and three others. “At this precarious time in our nation’s history, none of us can afford to make political calculations or make decisions based on future ambitions, for what will be left of the future if we fail today?”

And Pence supporters are collecting signatures from conservatives and tea party activists through a website and social media campaigns as part of a draft effort.

“I said, ‘Let’s attempt to demonstrate the level of enthusiasm for him that I think is out there a millimeter under the surface,’ ” said Ralph Benko, a former Reagan administration aide who started the campaign. “I think it’s huge. I just think it needs a little place to go. So we built a little place for it to go.”

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