The Washington Times - January 17, 2011, 12:47AM

In light of curious buzz surrounding Rep. Mike Pence’s future, a new group called America’s President Committee (APC) launched early Monday morning.A number of conservatives would like to see Congressman Mike Pence, Indiana Republican, make a run for the GOP nomination for president in the 2012 election cycle.

The desire from conservatives to see the Indiana representative throw his hat in the ring is nothing new, as right of center media commentators Erick Erickson (CNN, Red State), Jennifer Rubin (Washington Post), and George Will (Washington Post) have all voiced support for an Oval Office run for the Indiana Republican.

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However, the Congressman has already expressed interest in running for Indiana’s governor’s office, so many are left confused about what Mr. Pence really wants.

According to a statement released by APC on Monday:

Fresh off of a well-rounded victory in November, conservatives, including former Kansas Congressman Jim Ryun, are encouraging Indiana Congressman Mike Pence to run for President in 2012. 

America’s President Committee today kicks off a national grassroots signature drive urging conservatives and tea party members to sign a declaration encouraging Mr. Pence to run for President.  APC is being coordinated by Ralph Benko, a former Deputy Counsel in the Reagan Administration, and Founder of the Prosperity Caucus, a free market organization formed in 1986, which holds a monthly meeting of free market advocates.  He also worked closely with the Bush Administration’s White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives. 

“Throughout his distinguished career, Mike Pence has demonstrated the ability to enthusiastically advance the cause of conservatives and constitutional, limited government and for that reason I am encouraging him to get in the race,” said Mr. Ryun.  “Mike Pence describes himself as ‘First a Christian, then a conservative, then a Republican.’  He unifies fiscal, social, and national security conservatives, and will energize the conservative coalition essential to winning back The White House in 2012,” added Benko.

This week, APC kicks off a virtual national campaign with the goal of collecting as many declaration signers as possible encouraging Mr. Pence to enter the 2012 Republican Presidential primary. Those interested in learning more and signing the declaration urging Pence to run for President can do so at www.theconservativechampion.org

Congressman Pence also has a supporter in longtime Republican activist and Virginia GOP National Committeeman Mortan Blackwell. At the Republican National Committee Charman election on Friday, Mr. Blackwell told me he favored Congressman Pence as his first choice for the GOP nominee in 2012.

“My preference would be Congressman Mike Pence, because he is principled. He is articulate. He has national experience. He has done enormously powerful things for conservative principles,”  said Mr. Blackwell ” I don’t have any doubt there are going to be many people running for the Republican nomination for president describing themselves as conservatives. Doing otherwise would mean you couldn’t possibly win the nomination.”