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Messer Likely to Run for Pence’s Seat

Just minutes after Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) announced he is running for governor Thursday morning, a Republican hopeful publicly indicated interest in being his successor.

Former state Republican Party Executive Director Luke Messer stopped short of announcing a campaign, but he hinted that he would likely get into the race soon via a statement released after Pence’s announcement.

“Without question, the 6th district seat is a great opportunity to serve, and we’ll make a formal announcement in the coming weeks,” he said.

Messer came close to defeating Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) in the neighboring 5th district last cycle, coming in second in a crowded field and losing to the Congressman by about 2,300 votes.

However, if the state’s new Congressional map is signed into law this week, as expected, Messer will reside in Pence’s district in the 2012 cycle. Pence made the widely expected announcement Thursday that he would run for governor.

“As anticipation of this news has been building, my wife Jennifer and I have received encouragement from many friends and neighbors to seek the vacated congressional seat. I grew up in this district. We live here and raise our family here. So, this part of the state is very special to us,” Messer said in a statement.

Other Republicans are also looking at the open seat, including former Rep. David McIntosh, former Wayne County Sheriff Matt Strittmatter, Henry County Council President Nate LaMar and 2010 Senate candidate Don Bates Jr.

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