Earth & Conservation

Who Is Mike Pence?

Donald Trump's running mate has been a congressman, a governor and was even a radio show host. So who is VP Republican nominee Mike Pence?

As the saying goes, the vice president is just one heartbeat away from the most powerful office on the planet. In today's Seeker Daily two-part special, we take a closer look at the vice presidential candidates.

After a much-publicized run-up in July of 2016, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump chose Indiana governor Mike Pence to be his running mate A stalwart Midwest conservative, Pence had been in public office since 2000, spending most most of that time in the House of Representatives.

Pence grew up in Indiana, in a Catholic household, and at one time even had aspirations to be a priest. But he ended up getting a law degree and making several unsuccessful bids for Indiana congressional seats. After losing the elections, Pence started his own talk radio show, where he positioned himself as level-headed conservative pundit -- or as he called it, "Rush Limbaugh on decaf."

RELATED: Top Zingers in Past Presidential Debates

In 2000, Pence finally won his congressional seat and was an early advocate of the Tea Party movement. During his tenure, Pence voted against tax increases and big spending bills and earned a reputation as a staunchly conservative legislator.

Pence was elected Indiana governor in 2012 and made national headlines in 2015, when he backed a controversial bill that allowed business owners to refuse LGBT customers. Critics called the law discriminatory, and after nationwide backlash, Pence signed a gutted version of the bill.

Pence's history with LGBT issues goes back to tenure in Congress, when he advocated for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. In terms of the presidential ticket, it's one of many issues about which Trump and Pence don't see eye to eye. Trump has a history of supporting LGBT rights, and the two appear to have major policy differences on other issues, including abortion and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Today, Pence calls himself "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican -- in that order." Many political observers contend that his social conservatism could cost the Republican ticket some moderate voters, but Pence's relatively calm demeanor is generally considered a plus.

For more on the Democratic vice presidential nominee, click on over to our companion report: Who is Tim Kaine?

-- Glenn McDonald

Learn More:

The Washington Post: 10 Things You Should Know About Mike Pence, Donald Trump's Running Mate

TIME: Here's What Mike Pence Said on LGBT Issues Over the Years

The New York Times: Who is Mike Pence?