COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) — Greg Pence’s old friends in Columbus said Thursday they’re not at all surprised to hear he’s jumping into politics.
He announced Wednesday he is running for the House seat once held by his younger brother, Vice President Mike Pence.
Greg introduced himself to the world with a campaign video highlighting his conservative values and military experience.
But Mike Dell doesn’t need a video introduction. He’s known Greg since childhood and said the Pences are longtime customers at his downtown Columbus clothing store.
“I think his brother really paved a path through politics. Greg really hadn’t,” Dell said. “Greg finally got into a position where he felt it was time for him to step forward.”
Greg is running for Indiana’s 6th District, currently held by Republican Luke Messer. The district includes Muncie, Richmond and, the Pences’ hometown, Columbus.
His staff said Greg is not doing interviews with reporters, but his opponents are speaking up.
Republican 6th District candidate Johnathon Lamb released a statement Thursday calling Greg a “seasoned expert in taking companies from solvency to bankruptcy.”
The Associated Press reports that the Pence’s convenience store chain went bankrupt in 2004.
“I’m an entrepreneur, job creator, and am not running on someone else’s name,” Lamb said.
The clothing store owner, Dell, on the other hand, is a Democratic Columbus councilman who said Pence would make a “great congressman.”
“I think he’ll forge his own path,” Dell said. “I don’t know if Greg will be pursuing social issues as much as his brother had. I think Greg will be more based on economic situations.”
Greg describes himself as an “unwavering pro-life, pro Second Amendment, faith-driven conservative.” In his announcement video, he borrowed a phrase from his brother’s boss.
“Donald Trump is going to make America great again,” Greg said.
Greg still lives in Columbus and he owns the Exit 76 Antique Mall in Edinburgh.
“It’ll be interesting to see how Greg reacts to all the public limelight,” Dell said. “Because I don’t think Greg’s always been like that. It’s going to be fun to watch.”
Another 6th District candidate, Stephen MacKenzie, released a statement Thursday saying “unfortunately, Mr. Pence will continue business as usual in Congress.”
“I am confident I will be the best advocate for the 6th District as my positions align with the people and my dedication will be to them and not the establishment,” MacKenzie said.
Jeff Baker, a downtown Columbus business owner who said he’s known the Pence family for decades, said Greg is “quiet and thoughtful” and “a very nice gentleman.”
“I suppose he’ll have to prove himself to be his own man,” Baker said. “And not necessarily just reiterating what his brother might think.”
Mike Pence represented the 6th District from 2003 to 2013, when he was elected governor.