Donald Trump’s campaign has signaled strongly to Republicans in Washington that he will pick Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana, as his running mate, though Republicans caution the party’s mercurial presidential candidate may still backtrack on his apparent choice.
Trump’s advisers have told national Republican officials that they are preparing to make an announcement with Pence, according to three people with knowledge of the conversations, who were not authorized to discuss them publicly. His campaign has said that it will unveil a running mate for Trump in New York on Friday.
Pence, a former congressman and radio host, emerged over the last week as the strong favorite of Trump’s political advisers and senior officials in the Republican Party.
But Trump has sent conflicting signals in recent days, as he has subjected his potential running mates to a final round of screening. He addressed a rally in Indiana alongside Pence on Tuesday night and met privately with him several times.
On Wednesday, Trump and his children threw together a hasty series of conversations with other finalists in the vice-presidential search, including Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker.
A low-key man largely defined in public life by his Christian faith, Pence, 57, is seen as a cautious choice of running mate — a political partner who is unlikely to embarrass Trump, and who may help him shore up support among conservative voters still wary of his candidacy.
His staunch conservative views on certain social issues, like gay rights and abortion, may inject a new set of concerns into the general election debate that have been largely overlooked with Trump at the top of the Republican ticket.
For Trump, selecting Pence would be a sharp departure from habit, and the surest sign yet that he intends to submit to at least some standard political pressures in the general election.
In the past, Trump has leaned heavily on a tiny circle of trusted friends and advisers, and has crafted his major political decisions to shock and titillate the news media and Republican primary voters.
But Pence is a laid-back personality who does not have the same set of showman’s instincts as Trump or other vice-presidential contenders like Gingrich and Christie.
And the Indiana governor has only the scantiest of personal relationships with the man whose political future has rapidly melded with his own.