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Hoosiers reflect on Pence VP journey a year later

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A year later, some Hoosiers still remember the day all eyes were on Mike Pence.

On July 16, 2016, Donald Trump introduced Mike Pence as his running mate. The event took place in New York City.

State Rep. Tom Saunders was already in town on business. “I happened to be in the right place at the right time,” Saunders, a Republican from Lewisville, said.

He got tickets to the event and gave Pence a familiar face. “I was really shocked by the media from all over the world,” Saunders said. “There must have been 200 people trying to get through security, to get in that room.”

A year later, Saunders says things have changed. “He and I both like history, and we’d talk about local Indiana history, and we’d talk about the new Abraham Lincoln he had in his office,” Saunders said. “We don’t get to do that anymore.”

Saunders may miss Pence at the Statehouse, but others were thrilled to see him go. During the summer of 2016, Pence was involved in a tight governor’s race, and there was a movement to push him out. It was called, “Pence Must Go!” created by Kevin Warren, who has a much different memory of the VP announcement.

“Disappointment,” Warren said. “My heart sunk.”

Warren started the Pence Must Go PAC two years ago. “We have tens of thousands of signs all throughout the state of Indiana,” Warren said.

After the nomination, Warren thought his wish had come true. “I honestly thought Trump was a joke,” Warren said. “I still think he’s a joke, but I really thought there he would be out. I was shocked by the results.”

Vice president isn’t what Warren had in mind. But he’s happy the sign campaign raised $70,000 for LGBT groups. “Of course, I’m disappointed with the outcome, but when we first started this, it was for charity. We raised money for an underfunded community, and I’m proud of that,” Warren said.

“I thought he would be out of politics for awhile,” Warren said. “That didn’t happen, and now we just have to move on and deal with it and keep fighting.”

“You wonder because he was up for re-election for governor, and you give up this for that,” Saunders said. “It was a gamble, and it paid off.”

Now that Pence is out of Indiana, Warren said his PAC isn’t over. He’s focused on 2018 to help Democrats win House seats.

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