Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Mike Pence, Trump's VP Pick, Shares Striking Similarities with Brownback

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Mike Pence, Trump's VP Pick, Shares Striking Similarities with Brownback

Article excerpt

As the Republican National Convention gets underway in Cleveland, the similarities between Donald Trump's vice presidential pick, Mike Pence, and Gov. Sam Brownback are striking.

Both men are governors in the Midwest. Both are conservative and have cut taxes. Each easily refer to their Christian faith in public and have taken a hard stance against abortion. The pair both served in Congress before coming back to take the reins of their states.

Both men have spent time hosting radio shows.

And they share a common personnel connection. The Topeka-based lobbyist David Kensinger has worked for both men -- as chief of staff to Brownback and as a consultant to Pence.

Kensinger has been by Brownback's side for almost all of his political career. He left Brownback's staff in April 2012, however, to work on Pence's ultimately successful gubernatorial campaign.

Indiana campaign finance records show that Pence's campaign paid Kensinger & Associates -- Kensinger's lobbying firm -- $90,000 in 2012. The campaign paid the firm for consulting, records show.

Four years later, Kensinger is glowing in his assessment of the possible Hoosier vice president. He called Pence a "super guy" and said he brings an impressive mix of legislative and executive experience.

Pence hosted an Indiana talk radio program in the mid-to-late 90s, an experience Kensinger highlighted. Nearly 20 years earlier, Brownback spent a year hosting a radio show before attending law school.

"He's a very hard worker. His experience as a talk-radio host really helps him listen and communicate," Kensinger wrote of Pence in an email.

Though they share many similarities, the biggest difference between the two governors may be their approval ratings. According to polling from the news organization Morning Consult, Pence's approval rating sat at 48 percent, while Brownback was 26 percent -- the lowest among of any governor. While both Brownback and Pence have cut taxes while in office, Indiana hasn't seen the kind of budgetary problems that buffet Kansas.

Clinton's campaign has pointed to Pence's efforts to defund Planned Parenthood nationwide and has said he holds a "deep-seated hatred toward LGBT Americans. …

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