INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Mike Pence is a potential candidate for president in 2016 and speculation increased this week because the Indiana governor is in Iowa.
Iowa is the first caucus state and anyone who is running for president aims to begin building support there early in the election cycle.
Yet, Pence traveled to Iowa to attend the annual conference of the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association. The state Department of Commerce has posted photos of his interaction with Japanese business leaders who are interested in creating and maintaining jobs in Indiana.
“The motive is clear. It’s all about economic development,” political consultant Pete Seat said. “We’re in the midst of silly season in politics, where everyone is trying to be the first to figure out who is going to run for president.”
A year ago Pence left for Japan on his first foreign trade mission as governor saying, “Japan is our most important bi-lateral partner.” He timed that trip so he could attend the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association conference which was held in Japan in 2013.
But this year’s Iowa trip does include some political activity. Pence hosted a fundraiser for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad.
“Governors campaign in support of other governors,” Seat said. “Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie have all come here to support Mike Pence and he’s just returning the favor to his friends.”
If this year’s conference was in Minnesota, Seat said, no one would be talking about Pence’s travel schedule.