If you live outside Indiana, you probably have never heard of Becky Skillman. But she could end up having a far-reaching impact on the 2012 Republican field, through a fascinating domino effect.
Skillman is the Lieutenant Governor of Indiana, and she recently decided to not run for governor in 2012, citing health issues. Because she won’t be running as a Republican and Evan Bayh isn’t running on the Democrat side, the field appears to be clear for Congressman Mike Pence to run for the job of governor if he wants it more than he wants to run for president.
At Ace of Spades, Drew M. follows the dominoes: “Pence’s decision is probably a pretty big domino in the race. He seems to be a candidate that fits Sarah Palin’s criteria, so if he runs, she may not. Obviously, the reverse is true (unless another candidate steps up). Palin’s decision probably has an impact on whether or not Mike Huckabee runs, since it seems there’s a good bit of overlap in their voters. Of course all of that will have an impact on Mitt Romney’s chances.”
If Pence runs for governor instead of president, that probably brings in Palin. (I also have a feeling that we wouldn’t see both Pence and Daniels run. As Hoosiers, their network of supporters and donors overlap somewhat, and there might not be enough support or media oxygen for both of them, even though their styles are different.)
Would Huckabee would hesitate in the face of Palin? I had a chance to hang around with the former Arkansas governor in a Fox News green room recently, and he reinforced my sense that it’s impossible to not like Huckabee personally. I won’t get into any specifics, since I think it’s rude to quote casual conversations, but I’d say he seems pretty happy doing his television show. He said to me — as he’s said elsewhere — that he doesn’t want to see the GOP primary turn into a “demolition derby” that ends with a battered nominee running low on cash. Would the presence of Palin make the GOP primary rougher or more congenial? She certainly hasn’t minded throwing a few elbows at “blue bloods” and the like.