Thursday, June 01, 2023
Web Desk

Former US Vice President Mike Pence set to announce 2024 presidential bid

Web Desk
DOVER, NEW HAMPSHIRE - MAY 17: Former US Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a Lumber and Lobster event on May 17, 2023, in Dover, New Hampshire. —AFP
DOVER, NEW HAMPSHIRE - MAY 17: Former US Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a "Lumber and Lobster" event on May 17, 2023, in Dover, New Hampshire. —AFP

Former Vice President Mike Pence is gearing up to officially launch his presidential campaign next week, as he plans to enter the GOP presidential nomination race on June 7. 

According to a reliable source familiar with his launch schedule, Pence will kick off his 2024 bid with a compelling campaign video and a rousing speech in Des Moines, Iowa.

Known for his advocacy of traditional conservative values on social and economic matters, Pence faces the challenge of redefining his image among Republican voters who primarily recognise him as Donald Trump's vice president. However, Pence believes that the Iowa GOP, with its strong Midwestern roots and influential caucuses, will be receptive to his brand of politics. The Iowa caucuses traditionally play a significant role in determining the nomination contenders, catapulting a select few while diminishing the chances of others.

"The race is wide open, and Iowa will be the pivotal player," stated the source familiar with Pence's plans. "It's a place that embraces Mike Pence's principles of traditional conservatism, deeply rooted faith, and exceptional character."

In an effort to gain an advantageous position, Pence intends to campaign across all 99 counties in Iowa ahead of the caucuses. His campaign will focus on various retail politicking strategies, including town hall-style meetings with Iowans and impromptu visits to local restaurants. During these interactions, Pence will need to clarify to Republican voters why he distanced himself from Trump and certified the 2020 election loss on January 6, 2021—a day marked by a pro-Trump mob's attack on the US Capitol, during which some rioters chanted "hang Mike Pence."

In recent months, Pence has demonstrated a willingness to diverge from Trump on policy issues, breaking away from his alignment with the former president since their partnership in 2016. Notably, Pence has firmly supported US assistance to Ukraine and suggested considering cuts to Medicare and Social Security—a departure from Trump's stance. Throughout his political career, which includes twelve years in the House and four years as Indiana's governor, Pence has been a vocal advocate for social conservative priorities, ranging from abortion to LGBTQ rights. His track record also reflects a Reagan-era affinity for lower taxes, reduced regulation, and robust defence spending.

Although Pence's criticism of Trump has mostly been indirect, the same can be said of his relationship with Ron DeSantis, the current Florida Governor and potential Trump rival. While Pence and DeSantis disagree on US involvement in Ukraine, the former vice president's entry into the race adds someone who has been defined by his decision to stand up to Trump when the presidency and the rule of law were at stake.

With each passing week, the field of Republican contenders grows increasingly crowded. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum are also preparing to jump into the race soon. This indicates Trump's failure to convince potential rivals that he is unbeatable and DeSantis' inability to establish himself as the sole contender against Trump.

For Pence, securing the nomination would be a remarkable journey back to prominence. The first step in this quest will take place in Des Moines on Wednesday, June 7, which happens to be his 64th birthday. "What better place to make an announcement than somewhere so pivotal in shaping the future of our nation?" commented the source familiar with his plans. "It underscores the importance we attach to the state."