A brother of Vice President Mike Pence said he’s not planning to follow in his sibling’s political footsteps with a run for Congress, despite receiving encouragement to do so.

Greg Pence, a Columbus businessman, heads the statewide campaign finance committee of U.S. Rep. Luke Messer, R-Indiana, for the 2018 election cycle.

Messer, a three-term congressman, is considering a run for the U.S. Senate against first-term Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, who was elected in 2012.

If Messer decides to run for the Senate, that would leave open the 6th District seat that the vice president held for six consecutive terms before seeking and winning the Indiana governor’s office in 2012. Messer won the first of his three terms in the U.S. House that year, succeeding Mike Pence.

Story continues below gallery

Indiana’s 6th District includes 19 counties, from Delaware County on the north end, to Jefferson and Switzerland counties to the south.

Greg Pence said he’s focused on helping Messer, not a hypothetical opening of a congressional seat.

“All I’m doing is helping Luke and Jennifer (Messer) decide if he should run for Senate,” Greg Pence said.

Pence acknowledged that as he has crisscrossed the state to support Messer, some people have told him they would love for him to consider a run for Congress.

“I have not been actively pursuing it,” he said.

Pence said that he would not want to compromise in any way his efforts on behalf of Messer based on what other people want him to do.

However, Pence said another Columbus resident and Republican, State Rep. Milo Smith, has told him that he is considering running for the 6th District seat if Messer pursues the Senate seat.

Smith is a six-term member of the Indiana House of Representatives, and serves as chairman of the Elections and Apportionment Committee.

A message left for Smith seeking comment Thursday afternoon was not immediately returned.

Author photo
Kirk Johannesen is assistant managing editor of The Republic. He can be reached at johannesen@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5639.