In a highly anticipated move, former Vice President Mike Pence officially filed the paperwork for his candidacy for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, intensifying the forthcoming face-off within the Republican Party. This sets the stage for a potential clash with his former running mate, former President Donald Trump, as reported by CNN.
Pence is expected to formally announce his presidential bid on Wednesday, coinciding with a CNN presidential town hall scheduled for the same evening. The contest will feature a competition between Pence, who served as both vice president and a staunch supporter of Trump, and Trump himself for the GOP nomination.
While Pence has hinted at his potential entry into the race for several months, he now faces the challenge of overcoming Trump’s influence within the Republican primary electorate. He must convince voters that he is a superior choice to the man he had supported for four years before their relationship strained following the 2020 election, according to the Hill.
The battle that lies ahead is unpredictable, given the history between Trump, who played a role in inciting an insurrection, and Pence, who played a role in stopping that effort and upholding democracy. While Pence has publicly criticized Trump’s assertion that he had the authority to overturn the 2020 election results, he has refrained from attacking Trump’s character. Pence has consistently expressed pride in their administration’s record, as mentioned by CNN.
Pence, a 63-year-old former congressman and Indiana governor, was initially chosen as Trump’s running mate in 2016 due to his ability to appeal to the GOP’s socially conservative base. He is supported by a super PAC called Committed to America, co-chaired by former Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and veteran GOP consultant Scott Reed. The executive director of the group is Bobby Saparow, who successfully managed Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s (R) reelection campaign in 2022, according to the Hill.
In contrast, Trump has already launched personal attacks against other 2024 Republican rivals, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. During his tenure in the White House, Pence led the White House’s coronavirus task force and played a pivotal role in vaccine distribution. However, he disagreed with Trump’s actions following the 2020 election, which are currently under investigation by a special counsel, as highlighted by CNN.
According to a late May CNN poll, Pence was the first choice of 6 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning primary voters. He trailed behind Trump, who was the top choice for 53 percent of voters, and DeSantis, who garnered 26 percent support. The poll also revealed that 54 percent of respondents either support or would consider supporting Pence.
In his speeches, Pence has attempted to merge a forward-looking vision for the Republican Party with his credentials as Trump’s right-hand man for four years. He has spent the last few months making frequent visits to early primary states such as South Carolina and New Hampshire. Iowa, which holds the first caucus on the GOP primary calendar, has been a particular focus for Pence, as reported by The Hill.