Former Indiana state Rep. Luke Messer, R-Shelbyville, announced Tuesday he is running for Congress in the newly redrawn congressional seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, R-In., who is running for governor next year.
With Pence vacating his post, the 42-year-old education lobbyist said he will seek the Republican nomination in 2012. In his announcement, Messer courts Pence supporters and highlights his conservative credentials on abortion and gun rights.
“Mike Pence is a great friend, and I believe he will make a great governor,” Messer said in a news release. “Mike will be a tough act to follow in Congress, but we will work hard over the next year to earn the opportunity. Like Mike, I will stand up for the U.S. Constitution, conservative limited government principles and a return to fiscal sanity in our federal government.”
Earlier this year, the Indiana state legislature redrew congressional boundaries that put Messer in the 6th District. Two years ago, he came within 2 points of defeating 28-year incumbent Congressman Dan Burton in a seven-way GOP primary for Indiana’s 5th Congressional District.
Putting his 100% rating from Indiana Right to Life and his “A” rating from the National Rifle Association at the forefront, Messer is setup to be the likely Pence successor.
“Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll travel the district meeting old friends and new, working to earn this opportunity to serve,” he said. “We will build upon our grassroots team and work to earn the support of voters, activists, elected officials, and party leaders. Together, we can continue the legacy of strong, conservative leadership for the 6th Congressional District and Hoosiers all across our state.”