Presidential races

Pence headed to Israel amid 2016 speculation

Gov. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) is traveling to Israel later this month to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other political and business leaders.

{mosads}In a statement on his website, Pence said the nine-day trip was about strengthening economic ties between Indiana and Israel. Pence will celebrate Christmas in Jerusalem with his family and tour other Christian holy sites.

The Indiana governor is believed to be considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. Pence has said he’ll announce his intentions sometime next year.

Republican presidential hopefuls often make the trip to Israel to show support for a key U.S. ally in the Middle East and to burnish their foreign policy bona fides.

In 2012, Mitt Romney travelled to Israel during his campaign in hopes of shoring up the Jewish vote.

Pence is viewed as a solid conservative who could catch fire in early-voting states if he enters the fray.

But it’s expected to be a crowded and diverse field of candidates, and he’d potentially be competing for money and media attention with others on the right, such as potential contenders former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Dr. Ben Carson and Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas).

Pence doesn’t have the name recognition of that group, and he’s buried in the polls. In a CNN-ORC poll released late last month, he came in 15th among GOP contenders — dead last — with only 1 percent support from Republicans.

Pence will also be up for reelection as governor in 2016, so laws barring him running for federal and state office could temper his national ambitions this cycle.  

Tags Benjamin Netanyahu Israel Mike Pence

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