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Should Gov. Pence endorse a candidate?

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Posted at 2:36 PM, Apr 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-22 14:39:04-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- As Indiana's unusually important May primary gets ever closer, Republican presidential hopefuls have begun dropping by the governor's mansion – undoubtedly hoping to pick up an endorsement from Gov. Mike Pence.

Pence hasn't yet weighed in on the race, although he hasn't ruled it out, either.

The real question is: Should he?

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Twenty four sitting governors had already endorsed candidates as of April 16, according to FiveThirthyEight's endorsement tracker.

On the Republican side, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was leading gubernatorial endorsements with five. Ohio Gov. John Kasich and billionaire Donald Trump were tied with three apiece. Cruz also led for overall endorsements, with more than twice as many as either of his competitors.

On the Democratic side, the only governors to endorse a candidate all threw in with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's camp. Clinton also had a commanding leading, with FiveThirtyEight calculating she had 490 endorsement "points" to Sanders' 13.

In a three-way Republican race where every delegate counts, an endorsement from a sitting governor can be a powerful boost. FiveThirtyEight weights gubernatorial endorsements twice as heavily as an endorsement from a senator, and 10 times as heavily as an endorsement from a congressman.

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Within state politics, though, an endorsement could alienate voters backing a different candidate – especially in an election season as contentious as this one. Trump and Cruz are both divisive even within their own parties. Pence will have to weigh whether currying favor with the potential next president is worth the risk to what is expected to be his own tough bid for re-election.

MORE | See who donated to John Gregg, Mike Pence's campaigns last year

Pence told RTV6 on Thursday that all options were still on the table:

"I haven't ruled out weighing in if I feel strongly about it. But look, I am absolutely committed to the Republican nominee for President of the United States, and I will be campaigning for our candidate, for our ticket, all across the state of Indiana and wherever they want me this fall, because Indiana needs a partner."

Should Gov. Pence endorse a candidate for president? Who would you want him to endorse? Do you think it will affect his own chances at re-election? We invite you to weigh in on the discussion in the comment section below and on the RTV6 Facebook page.

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