Washington: Former Vice President Mike Pence on Monday filed the paperwork for his bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, setting the stage for a highly anticipated face-off within the Republican Party and a clash with his running mate of elections past, former President Donald Trump, CNN reported.
Pence is set to formally announce his candidacy on Wednesday ahead of a CNN presidential town hall that evening.
This contest will feature Mike Pence, who served as both vice president and a staunch supporter of former President Trump, competing against Trump himself for the GOP nomination.
Having indicated at his potential entry into the race for several months, Pence will now have to overcome Trump’s strength with the Republican primary electorate and convince voters he is a better choice than the man he spent four years cheerleading before their relationship strained after the 2020 election, the Hill reported.
An unpredictable battle lies ahead as Trump who helped incite an insurrection in his bid to cling to power and his once-loyal vice president who played a role in stopping that effort to thwart democracy.
Pence has publicly criticized Trump over his assertion that Pence had the authority to overturn the 2020 election results, but he has not taken aim at Trump’s character and has repeatedly said that he’s proud of their administration’s record, CNN reported.
Pence, a 63-year-old former congressman and Indiana governor, was selected as Trump’s running mate in 2016 in part because he could help Trump shore up the GOP’s socially conservative base.
He is backed by a super PAC, Committed to America, which launched in mid-May and is co-chaired by former Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and veteran GOP consultant Scott Reed. The group’s executive director is Bobby Saparow, who managed Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s (R) successful reelection campaign in 2022, the Hill reported.
Trump, in contrast, has already unleashed personal barbs at other 2024 Republican rivals, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
During Trump’s tenure in the White House, Pence headed the White House’s coronavirus task force and laid the foundation for vaccine distribution. However, Pence disagreed with Trump regarding the former president’s actions following the 2020 election, which are currently being investigated by a special counsel, CNN reported.
A CNN poll released in late May found Pence was the first choice of 6 per cent of Republican and Republican-leaning primary voters, trailing Trump, who was the first choice of 53 per cent of voters, and DeSantis (R), who was the first choice of 26 per cent.
The poll also found 54 per cent of those surveyed said they support or would consider supporting Pence.
In speeches, Pence has tried to fuse a forward-looking vision for the Republican Party with his credentials as Trump’s right-hand man for four years.
Pence has spent the last several months making frequent trips to early primary states like South Carolina and New Hampshire, and he has put a particular focus on Iowa, which holds the first caucus on the GOP primary calendar, The Hill reported.