Local Republicans react to reports that Trump picks Pence for running mate

Locals react to possible Trump VP pick

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Louisiana GOP leaders and supporters of Donald Trump reacted Thursday to reports that the billionaire businessman has made his choice for a running mate.

Trump is not known for keeping mum. But on this issue he is quiet, at least until Friday.

This week, speculation reached new heights and now some major national news outlets are reporting that it is a done deal, and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is Trump's pick.

"Governor from Indiana, conservative, former congressman, current governor, I think it's a good choice for him, it balances the ticket," said Jay Batt, a Trump delegate to next week's GOP National Convention and a deputy chair of the state Republican Party.

"He's the counter-balance to what Trump is, he has strong conservative principles that have been talked about and discussed with evangelicals for quite some time, Trump on the outset might be perceived more as progressive, he's okay with gay marriage and things of that nature."

Roger Villere, chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party, is already in Cleveland for the party's convention, where the official nomination of the party's presidential ticket takes place.

"Obviously until he officially makes the announcement something could change, but I believe that the signs to point to the probability of having Gov. Pence, I think that would be good for the base of the party," said Villere.

"Indiana is not a swing state, Mike Pence is not a Latino, he doesn't appeal to that critical base, he's not a woman, so what Donald Trump is trying to do is so untraditional in that he's a week out from the convention, just a few days, and he's trying to appeal to the base of the party right now, that's his goal," said FOX 8 political analyst Mike Sherman.

"He gives someone to Trump who has experience both in Congress in Washington and also in a state as governor, so it's someone with a good background, political background," Villere said.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich were seen as top contenders, and while Pence is not a household name among Louisiana voters, Batt believes conservatives in the state will embrace the governor if he's indeed Trump's choice.

"One of the knocks on Trump has been is that he's not a true conservative, if you will. This gives him the credibility that some people have been looking for," said Batt.

He is looking forward to heading to the Midwest for the convention.

"Hopefully not too bumpy of a road. My children are pages, and it's going to be a live civics lesson, so we'll be going up as a family," said Batt.

He also offered a non-partisan aside.

"I'd just like to see the folks in America get along and realize we're all on one team even if might disagree," Batt said.

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