Mike Pence's Mysterious Brother Wants To Play Politics
We're headed to headed to Indiana for a peek at the Sixth District! We'd normally skip such a deep red race, but we felt the need to talk about this one because of how much we don't know about its Republican candidate, Greg Pence.
The Indiana Sixth sits in the southeastern corner of the state and is bordered by Kentucky and Ohio. Besides the suburbs of Indianapolis and Cincinnati, you'll also find Columbus, Richmond, Muncie, and Ball State University but that's about it. This is Indiana, over 90 percent of the population is whiter than Wonder Bread and either between the ages of 18-24, or over 50. There are still a lot of manufacturing jobs here, but most people have gigs at Walmart or McDonalds if they're not nurses or teachers, so they aren't exactly flush with cash these days.
Back in the 2000s, the Sixth was Mike Pence's congressional district. In 2013, VEEPence decided Indiana needed to pray the gay away, and Jesus made him governor. Since then, the seat has been held by Republican Rep. Luke Messer (the guy trying get Trump a Nobel prize). Most analysts say this race is "wide open" after Messer decided run for the Senate, but that's not entirely accurate. After VEEPence's brother Greg said he was running for Messer's seat, it was pretty obvious who was going to join the festering wound in the House's Tea Party/Trump caucus.
Before we go any further, let's take a moment to point and laugh at Luke Messer, and the fact that on Tuesday night, he actually ended up losing the Republican Senate primary he left his seat in the House to run in.
Gee-Pence had this race locked up pretty early thanks to name recognition and an inexhaustible war chest of dark money. At the end of his first FEC filing term he had about half a million in the bank thanks to deep pocketed donors that maxed out with $2,7000 contributions. He's also had the support of large Trump and Pence PACs who've been able to funnel $1,191,790 into the race, according to the April's FEC filings.
Though Gee-Pence hasn't exactly mentioned his brother (yet), it's fairly obvious he's running on the family name. People in the area know it's VEEPence's big brother running for VEEPence's old House seat and will probably vote for him on that alone. Yet, that hasn't stopped him from courting Trump donors like Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, and corporate PACs like Duke Energy, Honeywell, and General Dynamics. Naturally, his chief primary opponent called him out for "running on nepotism," and complained about his his "deep-pocketed special interest money backing," but he was probably just jealous.
Gee-Pence responded to the attack by putting on a MAGA hat and saying, "The Pence name is a good name." He then professed his love for his baby brother, whipped his cape up over his face and disappeared into the night.
The most interesting thing about this race is how much we don't know about Greg Pence. He has the same folksy "aww shucks" bullshit as his brother, but he's a little less homofocused. Like his baby brother, he clings desperately to his guns and religion, attacks the media, and has run a very scripted campaign that has shut out any potential bad press. In an effort to drag him out of the shadows, one local reporter started calling him "Silent Greg" due to Gee-Pence's refusal to speak to reporters, release a public schedule or even show up for primary debates.
What is known about Gee-Pence makes his secrecy all the more disturbing. The business experience he touts is dubious -- the legal and financial records suggest the chain of old-timey gas station/convenience stores he ran in the 1990s was run into the ground on his watch. Gee-Pence ultimately bailed out from the company when things got dicey, and then welched on his personally guaranteed debts to lenders. When asked about his failure as a businessman, Pence's campaign said he resigned "in order to pursue other opportunities."
Gee-Pence now runs two antique malls with his wife. Valued at $5 and $25 million, it's (apparently) the place to go it you're looking for useless chatchkes and memorabilia to better accent that Trumpy Bear on your fireplace mantle.
About three weeks ago the Gee-Pence campaign started uploading fairly clever ads on Youtube. They look like interviews because he's sitting down with the locally famous former conservative radio show host, Greg Garrison, but he's just shilling talking points. He doesn't mention the opioid crisis raviging the district, or the soy bean farmers being screwed in Trump's trade war, but he makes sure to to say he'll help "build that wall!"
Pence's opponent in the general is Jeannine Lee Lake. Unfortunately, barring some kind of October Surprise, Lake is very likely to get clobbered in November. Trump dominated this area in 2016, though a lot of that success was likely due to this being the Pence's home turf. Every political prognosticator calls this race a safe Republican seat, and there's no reason to doubt that now. Democrats have been crushed in the last two elections -- and thanks to dirty money and his family name, Pence will likely be the one doing the crushing this year.
Again, there's not a lot we know about Greg Pence except that he was a Marine in the 1980s and that he's a shitty businessman. He's a bland man from a dull state using his family name to achieve mediocre success in politics, a feat so aggressively unimaginative that you nearly want to believe there's some master plan afoot. Under normal circumstances dodging the press and reaching into the corporate goodie bag would be enough of a scandal to rattle most budding political dynasties, but the connections to Trump world promise to add another layer of filth to the whole affair.