In a move that signals a clear challenge to his former commander-in-chief, Donald Trump, ex-Vice President Mike Pence has officially launched his 2024 presidential campaign. The announcement came via a video on Wednesday, presenting Pence as a Reagan Republican dedicated to steering the United States back to its conservative roots. This marks the first time a former vice president publicly challenged his former superior in modern history.
Choosing Iowa as the launch pad for his campaign, Pence projects confidence in securing the Republican nomination for the presidency. His announcement coincides with his Wednesday scheduled appearance on CNN’s Town Hall.
In his video message, Pence shared, “It would be easy to stay on the sidelines. But that’s not how I was raised. That’s why today, before God and my family, I’m announcing I’m running for president of the United States.”
A visible rift between Pence and Trump appeared when the former refused to reverse the 2020 election results, presiding over Congress to certify Joe Biden’s win on January 6, 2021. In his announcement video, Pence, aged 64, stated, “Different times call for different leadership.” He called for a leader “that will appeal, as Lincoln said, to the better angels of our nature.”
Pence expressed his belief in the country’s potential for revival, focusing on national defense, border security, economic resurgence, fiscal balance, and liberties preservation.
The official campaign launch followed his submission of the necessary paperwork on Monday. The race ahead appears challenging, with competitors including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Trump proposing a more traditional conservative approach.
Before serving as vice president under Trump’s administration, Pence spent over a decade in the U.S. House and completed a term as Indiana’s governor, solidifying his conservative reputation. However, he faces significant hurdles as he vies for support from a party still largely loyal to Trump.
Despite these challenges, Pence consistently outperforms some potential primary rivals in polls, albeit with numbers in the “low to mid-single digits.”
Due to his diverging views from Trump on the 2020 election, Pence has drawn some criticism within the Republican ranks. According to a recent poll by Quinnipiac University, 35% of registered Republican voters held a negative opinion of Pence. This figure contrasts significantly with ratings for Trump (11%), DeSantis (5%), and former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley (12%).
Despite declining support within the Republican establishment following the Capitol riot and the 2022 midterms, Trump remains the contender to beat in the 2024 primary. Polls show him leading potential rivals and retaining a firm grip on the GOP base.
Before his campaign announcement, Pence hinted at the prospect of “better candidates” than Trump for 2024. He also suggested that Trump was partly responsible for the GOP’s poor showing in the 2022 midterms, stating, “Our candidates that were focused on the past, particularly on relitigating the last election, did not do well.”