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Former Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to announce his 2024 presidential campaign in Des Moines, Iowa on June 7, which will also be his 64th birthday. The Pence campaign plans to show a video followed by an announcement speech. The campaign kickoff event will come before a previously announced Town Hall.
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Before becoming Vice President, Pence was an Indiana Governor and a congressman. A midwesterner himself, Pence sees himself in familiar cultural terrain in the early primary state. A campaign insider said:
We view this race as absolutely wide open, and Iowa is really going to solidify itself as the pivotal player. It’s a place that values Mike Pence’s principles — traditional conservative principles — deep-rooted faith and uncommon character.
Earlier this month, Committed to America, a Pence-supporting Super PAC, said that it plans to organize in all 99 Iowa counties. Long-time GOP consultant and PAC co-chair Scott Reed said:
We’re going to organize Iowa, all 99 counties, like we’re running him for county sheriff.
Reed said that the PAC intends to introduce Pence to voters and let them see him outside of his prior role as VP. They styled him as a “Reagan conservative”:
People know Mike Pence, they just don’t know him well. This campaign is going to reintroduce Mike Pence to the country as his own man, not as vice president, but as a true economic, social and national security conservative — a Reagan conservative.
In recent months Pence has been on a book tour, promoting his memoir, and giving speeches while testing the waters for his presidential bid. During those events he promoted his unrelenting support for the war in Ukraine while proposing cuts to Medicare and Social Security, positions that differentiate him from his former boss and the GOP frontrunner, Donald Trump. On social issues, Pence focuses on pro-life policy and opposing “radical gender ideology.”
Pence has been spending more time in Iowa, including stops in Des Moines and Ottumwa last week. Pence will return to the state this upcoming weekend for Governor Joni Ernst’s Roast and Ride event.
This month, a poll done by Quinnipiac University found 36 percent of Republicans nationwide have an unfavorable view of Pence, a higher unfavorability rating than Trump or Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Many Republicans regard Pence with contempt, based on the opinion that Pence turned his back on the former President during the election certification process. While Pence’s PAC people suggest that voters will hail Pence’s actions as “upholding the Constitution,” their theory will be put to the test. Veteran Republican strategist Dave Koche said:
Boy, if he’d never been through January 6, and had the ramifications of all that, he’d be particularly well-built for the Iowa caucuses now. Maybe he can overcome that stuff, but that’s why we run the campaign. We’ll find out.
The top contenders in the GOP primary, Trump and DeSantis, are each polling in double digits while Pence remains in single digits among the crowded field of candidates. Others who have thrown their hats into the ring include former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.
The former VP is polling slightly ahead of Haley, making Pence the third-place candidate for now.