In a surprising turn of events, former Vice President Mike Pence has officially filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, announcing his campaign for the 2024 presidential race. This sets up a potential challenge against his former boss, Donald Trump, just two years after their tumultuous tenure in the White House ended with the infamous U.S. Capitol insurrection and Pence’s life being at risk.
Pence, who served as the 48th vice president of the nation, will formally launch his bid for the Republican nomination through a video and a kickoff event in Des Moines, Iowa, scheduled on Wednesday, coinciding with his 64th birthday, as per sources familiar with his plans. He made his candidacy official by filing the necessary paperwork on Monday with the Federal Election Commission.
While Trump currently holds the lead in the early race for the nomination, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis consistently polling in second place, supporters of Pence believe there is a viable lane for a dependable conservative candidate who aligns with many policies of the previous administration but without the constant chaos.
Despite frequently praising the accomplishments of the “Trump-Pence administration,” a Pence nomination would, in many ways, signify a return to positions traditionally associated with the Republican establishment. Throughout Trump’s presidency, the party underwent a significant transformation under his influence. Pence has been vocal about his concerns regarding the growing populist wave within the party, positioning himself as the only traditional, Reagan-style conservative in the race, according to his advisers.
Pence holds staunch opposition to abortion rights and supports a national ban on the procedure. He has actively campaigned against policies that affirm transgender individuals in schools. Pence advocates for considering changes to Social Security and Medicare, such as raising the qualification age, to ensure the programs’ financial stability—an idea that both Trump and DeSantis have opposed. He has also criticized DeSantis for his escalating feud with Disney. Additionally, Pence has emphasized the need for the United States to provide increased support to Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression, while admonishing those within the party who are unwilling to stand up to Russian leader Vladimir Putin, whom he refers to as “Putin apologists.”
Describing himself as “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order,” Pence has spent several months laying the groundwork for his anticipated presidential run. He has held events in early voting states like Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire, making appearances at churches, delivering policy speeches, and engaging with potential donors.
Pence’s campaign team recognizes the significance of Iowa and its evangelical Christian voters in his potential path to victory. Advisers reveal that he plans to launch an aggressive campaign in the state, visiting all 99 counties before the first-in-the-nation caucuses next year.
The campaign strategy is expected to focus heavily on town hall meetings and direct interactions with voters, aiming to reintroduce Pence to those who primarily know him from his time as Trump’s second-in-command. Prior to becoming vice president, Pence had an extensive political career, serving in Congress for over a decade and as the governor of Indiana.