INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Bill Smith, the Chief of Staff to Governor Mike Pence, announced his resignation on Wednesday.
Smith will still work for Pence, but in a new role. It’s a switch that has political insiders speculating about 2016.
Smith is a guy who has always kept a low public profile but he’s also the guy who serves as something of a trailblazer for Mike Pence. The speculation is that he is now heading down a trail toward the next Presidential campaign.
Smith has worked for Mike Pence for 14 years in one capacity or another. He led the governor’s transition team and has been Chief of Staff since the inauguration in 2012.
He’s leaving that post to begin his own political consulting firm with the governor as a client. Is it the first step toward a run for the White House?
“Well, I think the governor has always said that, you know, he doesn’t believe his life is his own,” said Smith. “He’s open to wherever the future leads and that continues to be the case.”
“It’s gonna raise some speculation,” said Republican political consultant Pete Seat. “There’s obviously already speculation about what Governor Pence’s next step will be.”
It is speculation that was fueled by a recent article at Politico.com that said Pence is listening to conservatives who want him to run.
On the day he signed the bill to create preschool vouchers Pence confirmed that conversations have taken place.
“I’m always very humbled when people speak about us and speak about our political future,” he said, “but I can tell you days like today are an affirmation to me that my focus needs to remain on the future of the people of Indiana and we’ll let my future take care of itself.”
And it’s the future that Bill Smith is preparing for.
“And wherever the future leads for the governor,” said Smith, “I plan to be standing by his side.”
The governor issued a statement praising Smith for his work in state government. He said, in part, “We look forward to working with him often in his new capacity.”
He didn’t elaborate.