Gov. Mike Pence became Donald Trump’s running mate out of fear of losing his gubernatorial re-election campaign, an Indiana Democratic leader claimed just ahead of Tuesday’s vice presidential debate.
“His approval rating was tanking and… he abandoned ship,” Indiana House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath said on a phone call with reporters. “He knew his career was over if he didn’t hitch his wagon to the most destructive campaign in U.S. history.”
Pence’s approval rating in Indiana has declined three percentage points since he joined the Trump campaign, from 48 percent in the first quarter of the year to 45 percent in September, according to Morning Consult Governor Approval Rankings. His disapproval percentage has risen from 39 percent to 45 percent during that time frame as well.
Pence’s opponent in the debate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, has seen less movement in his approval ratings since joining Hillary Clinton at the top of the Democratic ticket. Kaine’s approval rating in Virginia is at 54 percent, 1 point higher than in April. His disapproval rating from April to September increased from 24 percent to 26 percent.
Pelath was on the call with Indiana Democratic Party Chair John Zody, who attacked Pence for signing legislation in spring 2015 that would allow businesses to discriminate against the LGBT community. After facing national criticism, Pence agreed to sign a revised version of the ‘religious freedom law.’
“His backwards social agenda has always been priority number one and he will always put it before economic growth and middle-class prosperity,” Zody said on the call.