From the Washington Post
As Chris Cilliza reported last night, Rep. Mike Pence (R- Ind.) opted out of a presidential run in 2012. He seems keen to run for governor instead.
Pence had garnered praise from an array of conservatives, especially among religious conservatives. But the money needed to run and the number of contenders he would have had to beat were perhaps too daunting. His conservative bona fides on fiscal, social and foreign policy issues were not in doubt, but the long-time congressman would have had his work cut out in gaining visibility and making a unique case for his own candidacy. (Why Pence, rather than a governor or a fresher face?) And as I wrote previously, it's hard to see how he would win Iowa and build momentum for the rest of the race.
His departure will come as good news to several presidential candidates. Tim Pawlenty may have the most to gain. Pawlenty is looking to be the alternative to Mitt Romney -- a conservative with executive leadership but without the burden of RomneyCare or other baggage. The same movement conservatives who had been cheering for the solidly conservative Pence may find Pawlenty a fine substitute. Gov. Haley Barbour (Miss.), if he should run, also benefits by elimination of another "not Romney" candidate. Barbour would need a good showing in Iowa to stay competitive, and Pence's decision not to run frees up some social conservative voters who are key to winning the caucuses.
I'm not voting for Mitt Romney. I didn't do so in 2008, and I'm more strongly against Romney this time than I was last time. The names I'm hearing likely to run in 2012 are a lot of the retreads of 08 (Romney, Huckabee, Palin) along with Gary Johnson, Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, Jon Huntsman, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, and Haley Barbour, and the perennial thinking about running Newt Gingrich. All of them have their positives and negatives although some I'm much more willing to support than others.