GOP VP candidate Mike Pence: What you need to know

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence made his first of two Arizona stops in Tucson Tuesday afternoon. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Indiana Gov. Mike Pence made his first of two Arizona stops in Tucson Tuesday afternoon. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence . Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence .
Mike Pence and Donald Trump (Source: AP Photo) Mike Pence and Donald Trump (Source: AP Photo)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence hits the Valley Tuesday night, marking his first stop here since Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump picked him as his running mate.

NOTE: We will livestream the event, which starts at 7 p.m., both online and in our free mobile app

In terms of national politics, Pence is unknown, having what some call "remarkably low" name ID.

That will surely change (and has changed since taking the No. 2 spot on the ticket) but a CBS News poll conducted two weeks ago showed "(e)ighty-six (sic) percent of voters are undecided or don't know enough about (Pence) to have an opinion."

So given that, here are a few things Arizona voters should know about the potential second in command.

No.2 as No. 1

Voters should pay very close attention to Pence as he might be the one running the country.

No, we're not talking about the concept of "a heartbeat away from the presidency."  In fact, Pence might be the de facto commander-in-chief from day one.

According to The New York Times, Trump was offering to make potential running mates the "most powerful vice president in history."

The same article added that Trump's VP "would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy."

Background

Pence was born and raised in Indiana, earning a law degree from the Indiana University School of Law in 1986, according to the website Ballotpedia.

In the 1990s, Pence hosted a conservative radio talk show, describing himself as "Rush Limbaugh on decaf."

From 2001 to 2013, Pence serves in the U.S. House of Representatives, earning a reputation as a social and fiscal conservative.

Pence won the governorship in 2012 and dropped his bid for re-election this year to focus on the presidential race.

Most notable moment

In 2015 Pence signed a controversial "religious freedom" law that opponents claimed would give businesses a license to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

Following intense public and economic pressure, Pence later signed a revised version offering protections for members of the LGBTQ community.

The Arizona legislature passed a similar "religious freedom" measure in 2014, but then-Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed it.

Why is he here?

If politics were basketball, Arizona should be a lay-up for Republican presidential candidates.

The last time a Democratic presidential carried the state was 1996 when Bill Clinton beat Republican Sen. Bob Dole in a landslide.

Still, this year, many political forecasters have put Arizona in the toss-up column.

Some political experts say Pence is here because it's convenient. Last night he was in Nevada and may be stopping here to once again rally the GOP base and introduce himself to voters who may have never seen him.

With the Trump campaign focusing its efforts in Rust Belt states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, as well as the always competitive Florida, it's unlikely Trump or Pence will be making many more stops in Arizona over the next three months.

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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