“This is a historic night,” said Vice President-elect Mike Pence at Trump HQ before introducing Donald Trump. “I’m mostly grateful to the president whose leadership and vision will make America great again.”
Trump selected the Republican Governor of Indiana to be his running mate almost four months ago in order to bring an experienced and conservative Midwestern governor into his presidential bid.
“He’s level-headed,” said Alex Triantafilou, the Republican Chairman of Hamilton County, a small Ohio county that borders Indiana. “He’s got experience in Washington and as an executive.”
Triantafilou said Pence’s governing experience appropriately juxtaposes Trump’s unscripted and inexperienced political rhetoric. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) echoed these sentiments and said, “[Pence] is a good movement conservative.”
These qualities helped Trump win over moderate Republican voters in swing states like Ohio, Florida, and North Carolina. All states, which pundits said Trump needed to win in order to achieve the necessary 270 Electoral College votes.
Pence is also a devout Christian well-known for his opposition to gay marriage, another quality that appeals to the conservative base Trump needed to win the election.
Terry Holt, an adviser to former Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), said of Pence, “He’s a conservative Republican that Donald Trump really needed to look at seriously if he was going to make any inroads in uniting the party.”
During his time as Governor of Indiana, Pence presided over an economic recovery, helping a state that was hard-hit by the Great Recession to rebound at the same rate as the rest of the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Indiana had a job growth rate higher than that of the US, as a whole.
On Election Night, Pence was able to leverage his successful role as governor with his conservative principles to help Trump achieve 290 Electoral College votes.