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Pence is suddenly the GOP 2020 frontrunner

This didn’t take long: Mike Pence is now the frontrunner for the 2020 Republican presidential nomination if Donald Trump loses next month.

Pence was named by 22 percent of Republicans as their first pick for the nomination, well ahead of House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., 13 percent; Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, 12 percent and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla, 11 percent in a Morning Consult/Politico poll released Friday.

The poll was taken after Tuesday’s vice presidential debate, a debate where Pence was regarded as doing very well. Voters at a focus group organized by McClatchy and the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University found he articulated his conservative message well.

Many voters had hoped Pence was running for president now. Nearly one-third of Trump backers in the new poll said they’d rather vote for Pence as president.

The governor of Indiana has been mentioned before as a presidential candidate. His hopes faded last year after controversy over the state’s religious freedom law, and he was struggling in his bid for re-election.

Among Democrats, Tim Kaine, the 2016 vice presidential candidate, didn’t appear to help himself. Should Hillary Clinton lose, the Democrats’ first choice in 2020 is currently Sen. Elizabeth Warren, with 28 percent. Kaine, a senator from Virginia, is next at 16 percent, followed by Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., 9 percent and Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, 8 percent.

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