12 days out from Election Day, Mike Pence is holding a rally in deeply red Indiana. Why?

Maureen Groppe, USA TODAY
·3 min read

Vice President Mike Pence will collect some much-needed campaign dollars from his home state during a trip to Indiana Thursday that is sandwiched between multiple rallies in battleground states.

His private meeting with donors in a state Trump previously carried by 19 points and a public rally at a Fort Wayne airport come 12 days before the election. National polls and those in competitive states near Indiana show Trump behind.

“We’ve got a lot of supporters here, obviously, for Mike,” said Bill Bean, a GOP donor and developer in Fort Wayne, Ind. “Hopefully we’ll help put him over the top.”

Bean said the event was squeezed into Pence’s schedule as a “favor to the supporters here in the area” and not because the Trump/Pence campaign is concerned about losing Indiana or because the coffers are running dry.

“It was never portrayed to me that, `Hey, you know, we're struggling,’” Bean said. “I’ve honestly been petitioning for him to try to make a stop in here and I'm sure there were probably others – just to raise up the enthusiasm level, if nothing else. So I don't think that the main purpose of it was to raise campaign funds.”

But Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had nearly three times as much cash at the end of September as Trump, according to disclosure reports filed Tuesday. Trump traveled to heavily Democratic California Sunday for a high-dollar fundraiser.

Vice President Mike Pence waves to supporters during a campaign rally, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, in, Portsmouth, N.H.
Vice President Mike Pence waves to supporters during a campaign rally, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, in, Portsmouth, N.H.

Bean was busy calling fellow Trump supporters Wednesday for a “small group” meeting of donors with Pence Thursday.

The public part of the schedule is a rally soon after Pence holds a similar event in Michigan.

After Pence votes in Indiana Friday, he’ll head to Ohio and Pennsylvania for more rallies.

USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll: Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by 7 points in pivotal Pennsylvania

Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are among the Rust Belt states that are considered crucial for Trump's reelection this year.

Trump, however, won 56% of the vote in Indiana. His 19-point margin was mirrored in Allen County, where Fort Wayne is the largest city.

“The amount of financial supporters and contributors to Mike Pence in Northeast Indiana is probably one of the greatest in the state,” said Steve Shine, chairman of the Allen County GOP and another longtime friend of Pence’s. “It is probably one of the easiest areas to raise money for Trump and Pence because of the solid support not just for the president, but the robust support for Mike Pence in this area.”

On Wednesday, the Indiana Republican Party sent out a fundraising email in Pence’s name asking supporters to help “Keep Indiana Red!”

GOP Gov. Eric Holcomb, Pence’s successor in that position, is up for reelection. Holcomb said Wednesday that he "likely will" be at the Pence campaign event.

While Holcomb's Democratic challenger hasn’t gained much traction, Democrats have a chance of picking up a congressional seat in a district north of Indianapolis that includes many suburban voters who have been turned off by Trump.

The congressional district where Pence is headed, by contrast, is one of the two most Republican in the state.

Contributing: Kaitlin Lange, Indianapolis Star.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Here's why Vice President Mike Pence is campaigning in his home state