Pence, Mike

Pence, Mike (Michael Richard Pence), 1959–, Vice President of the United States (2017–21), b. Columbus, Ind., grad. Hanover College, 1981, Indiana Univ. law school, 1986. A Republican, he twice ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House of Representatives before he won the first of his six terms in 2000. A social conservative who had hosted a talk radio program (1993–99), Pence was a member of the Tea Party caucus in the House, and served as chairman (2009–11) of the House Republican Conference. He then was elected (2012) governor of Indiana. He subsequently gained national notice for signing a “religious freedom” bill that was widely regarded as potentially permitting religious conservatives to discriminate against gays and possibly religious minorities; business and other opposition subsequently forced Indiana to modify the law to include antidiscrimination language. In 2016 Pence was chosen by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to be his running mate, and the Republican ticket subsequently defeated Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine in November. He led, from Feb., 2020, the administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the 2020 elections, Democrats Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris easily won the popular vote but with relatively close results in several key electoral-vote states. Trump and, for a time, Pence refused to concede while unsuccessfully challenging the results in several states and charging fraud without evidence.

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