CLEVELAND - If picking Mike Pence as his running mate was Donald Trump’s way of pacifying conservative Republicans, then, based on delegate reactions, mission accomplished.
On the third night of the Republican National Convention, Indiana Gov. Pence gave a speech that was almost presidential. He touched on all of the key GOP topics like the national debt and small government. He mentioned Ronald Regan, bashed the mainstream media, spoke of his love for his wife and his hatred for Hillary Clinton.
He said good things about Trump too, calling him, “A man who never quits. A fighter, a winner, who had to do it all by himself against all odds.”
Pence is everything Trump is not. He’s a career politician with years of experience in the House of Representatives and as governor of Indiana. He’s a GOP darling with a strong religious background and a record of supporting conservative policies. If anyone could “balance out” Trump’s non-traditional presidential run, he’s as close as it gets and delegates interviewed at the RNC agree.
“I had the hairs on my arms raised when they did the vice presidential announcement. … I think he’s got that steady style, he has political experience, experience in the House of reps and leadership and governor and sounds like they’ve done a great job in Indiana,” said Dave Alvorb, a delegate and mayor of South Jordan, Utah.
Plus, he’s God-fearing.
“That’s definitely a bonus. I am a man of faith myself so I appreciate a man of faith in that role, and the ticket could use that, needless to say,” he said.
Few delegates offered any hesitations about Pence. While he might not have been terribly well known to many, what they did know they said they liked.
“Truthfully, it was kind of a surprising pick I thought. He certainly wasn’t the biggest name being thrown around but he has some pretty good conservative bonafides as a governor and he probably helps trump with the evangelicals and kind of that segment with the Republican base. So in those ways, a pretty good choice,” said Nevada delegate Rob Tyree, 40.
Joy Staveley, 68, a delegate from Arizona said she was very happy with Pence because he was a fiscal conservative, an issue most important to her. Staveley was originally a Scott Walker and Marco Rubio supporter, but hoped Pence would be good for the GOP ticket.
“I’m pleased with the nomination of Mike Pence because I believe he’s a solid conservative which I think is important to a lot of us. He communicates really well and I think he’s a very respectable man,: Staveley said.
In comparison though, some said Trump still has some work to do to win them over.
“Knowing [Pence] is going to be President of the Senate, I think he’ll be able to pull a lot of the gentlemen and women together, and that’s what we need, a very strong individual who is very passionate who would do that. Donald Trump needed that,” said Linda Birckman, a delegate from Arizona, 60. “If anything, [Pence] is the one that sold me—but Trump’s still going to have to sell me on himself.”
Chris Rogers, a delegate from Utah said he found the contrast between the two candidates the most striking. There was balance, yes, but Pence seemed like the one more suited for presidential nominee.
“He comes off as very presidential. It’s interesting because he’s a presidential vice president candidate and Trump is very untraditional,” he said.
Rogers was initially a Marco Rubio supporter but said Pence’s name put him at ease. He also hinted that he wouldn’t be unhappy if the ticket were to be flipped, with Pence as president and Trump taking the VP spot.
“I’d still vote for that ticket too, I think that would be a good ticket as well,” he said.