The politics of the Pence storm response

Gov. Mike Pence returned to Indiana following the strong central Indiana storms. (WISH photo)

KOKOMO, Ind. (WISH) — Mike Pence has temporarily stopped campaigning for vice president because of the storm damage in Indiana.

But there’s still a political element to everything he does.

With crisis comes opportunity, and this week Mike Pence has the opportunity to demonstrate that he is still in control as governor. That’s despite the fact that he spends most of his time these days in other states.

When the storm hit, Mike Pence quickly flew back home from North Carolina. Within hours he was on television saying, “I like to be on the ground and talk to people on the front lines.”

His running mate, Donald Trump, was tweeting his support, declaring that Pence showed “great leadership.”

It came less than a week after Trump and Pence toured flooding in Louisiana and a day after Trump tweeted that President Obama “should have gone to Louisiana days ago instead of golfing.”

There is politics at work here.

“We’ll be here as long as we need to be,” declared Pence, “to make sure that Hoosiers that have been impacted by these storms have what they need and have the support that they need.”

There may be no better campaign photo opportunity than the one that would have taken place even if the governor wasn’t running for vice president, but there is more media now.

And speaking of the media, Pence has been critical on the campaign trail. Not so back home.

“There is no question in my mind that the attention that the media paid to this storm may well have saved lives,” he said. “And so I commend each and every one of you for the focused attention.”

And if a quick storm response is good for a Trump/Pence ticket it will also be good for the man who hopes to replace Mike Pence as governor.

It should come as no surprise that Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb was at the governor’s side both Wednesday night and Thursday.

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