Pence steps down from GOP leadership; door open for possible Bachmann run

WASHINGTON — Michele Bachmann has said she’d consider running for a GOP leadership position if one opens up. Well, now it has.

Indiana Rep. Mike Pence will step down from his spot as chairman of the House Republican Conference — the group that formally coordinates House Republicans on everything from committee assignments and policy briefings to speaking time on the House floor and media strategy.

Pence, who came in first place in the 2010 Values Voters presidential straw poll, is widely thought to be weighing a bid for president or, at the very least, governor of Indiana. And given that, today he told colleagues he’d be stepping aside as chairman of the House Republican Conference. In a letter to them today, Pence wrote:

After two consecutive losses for our party, the Republican Leader asked me to help lead House Republicans back to the majority, and I felt it was my duty to do so. I have always believed people should keep their promises and complete the assignments they have been given. As you recall, that’s why I declined offers to run for the U.S. Senate in the middle of my term as Chairman.

Now that we have restored a Republican majority to the House of Representatives and I have fulfilled my commitment to the Republican Conference, my family and I have begun to look to the future.

Several Republican lawmakers have called Bachmann, spokesman Sergio Gor said late Tuesday, and asked her to consider a run for the GOP leadership.

She is reportedly considering such a bid, telling conservative talker Sean Hannity before the election that “There may be positions that open up and if that’s the case I certainly would.”

That’s not to say she has decided, sources inside Camp Bachmann say she genuinely hasn’t figured out yet if she’ll make a go for it. And even if she did run for the seat, there’s no certainty that she’d get it because other lawmakers with closer ties to the existing GOP leadership (like Jeb Hensarling of Texas) are said to be interested in the seat as well.

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