Mike Pence was born in Columbus, Ind., and lives there when Congress is not in session. The rest of the time he and his family live in Arlington, Va. He earned a bachelor's from Hanover College in 1981 and a law degree from Indiana University in 1986.
From 1991 to 1993, Pence served as president of the Indiana Policy Review, a conservative think tank in Fort Wayne. In 1992, he began a career in radio broadcasting with "The Mike Pence Show," which by 1994 was syndicated statewide.
Pence was first elected to the U.S. House in 2000.
Pence and his wife, Karen, have three children.
Mike Pence has established himself as the new standard-bearer of the Indiana Republican Party with the pending departures of both U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar and Gov. Mitch Daniels.
Pence is running for governor in 2012 on a platform that broadly talks of building on Daniels' accomplishments in the last eight years. Heading into the November general election he held a massive cash advantage over his Democratic opponent. Much of that support has come in large donations from out of state, reflecting expectations he will seek higher office in the future.
As the third-ranking member of the House Republican leadership team, he developed a strong presence on the national stage before announcing in January 2011 he would run for governor rather than seek the Republican presidential nomination. He is considered by GOP leaders to be a potential 2016 or 2020 presidential candidate depending who wins the White House in 2012.
He said in a fiery speech before the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in April 2010 that House Republicans will repeal the 2010 health care overhaul legislation "lock, stock and barrel."
Pence has been a leading critic in Congress of President Barack Obama's administration. He says Obama and the Democratic majority in Congress have put the nation on a course of runaway spending and big government.
Pence describes himself as a "Christian, conservative and Republican, in that order." As a member of Congress, Pence earned national accolades from religious and social conservatives, although he has tamped down much of that image in his run for governor.
He was elected chairman of the House Republican Conference in November 2008. Like many other Republicans, Pence voted against the approximately $800 billion economic stimulus bill in February 2009.
Democrats have criticized Pence for voting against the 2008 bank bailout, arguing it amounted to opposition to the auto bailout that was used to help Indiana carmaker Chrysler. Pence notes that the auto bailout was not a part of the original package Congress voted on; it was later spun-off by the Obama administration.
Since being elected to Congress in 2000, he has been an ardent supporter of the U.S. military, and he supported the actions President George W. Bush took in the fight against terrorism.
National media outlets have often turned to Pence as a spokesman for conservative principles, and the former radio talk show host uses his media savvy both in Washington and in Indiana.
Pence co-sponsored in 2007 a media shield bill that would back the right of reporters to withhold the identity of their sources in most federal court cases.
"I believe the only check on government power in real time is a free and independent press," he said.
Pence opposes federal earmarks, despite pleas from some county commissioners in his district for cash for highway projects in the area.
He is anti-abortion and supported legislation that would ban human cloning.
Pence was among five members of Congress who in 2004 introduced legislation to prevent federal judges from hearing cases involving acknowledgments of God such as public displays of the Ten Commandments or the phrase "one nation under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. He was elected unanimously that year as chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a group of the GOP's most conservative congressional members.
Committee Assignments: Foreign Affairs; Judiciary
American Conservative Union Rating: 92
Americans for Democratic Action Rating: 0
Recent winning percentages for office currently held: 67% (2010), 64% (2008), 60% (2006).
(Last updated by Tom LoBianco on July 5, 2012.)