Former Vice President Mike Pence, a Republican, will announce he is running for president in 2024 at a rally-style event in Des Moines, Iowa, next Wednesday, a source familiar with Pence’s plans told Breitbart News.
Pence, who served alongside former President Donald Trump for four years, will face off against his old running mate and other Republicans like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC). Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is also expected to enter the race next week.
Recent polling shows Trump as the clear frontrunner and DeSantis in a distant second place, while others like Pence, Scott, Haley, and Ramaswamy trail in the mid-single digits.
But, the fact that people like Scott, Pence, and Christie are entering the race in the lead-up to and immediate aftermath of DeSantis’s entrance into the field suggests a lack of confidence that the Florida governor could beat Trump–and the first polling out since DeSantis’s announcement shows that he got no bump from it. Scott, in an interview with Breitbart News at his announcement event in North Charleston, South Carolina, disputed the notion that the race was a “two-man race” between Trump and DeSantis, as some DeSantis allies have tried to frame it. Pence joining the field next week would further suggest that most Republicans do not see it that way.
Pence, himself, in a recent mid-April interview with Breitbart News in his home state of Indiana at the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) annual gathering in Indianapolis, said that he was “weeks, not months,” away from a 2024 decision. That has proven true, as next Wednesday is less than eight weeks after that interview.
“Look, I think this country is in a lot of trouble,” Pence told Breitbart News at the NRA event backstage before he spoke. “When I think about the way the Lord has blessed my family to be a leader in the Congress, to be a governor of a successful state, to be a Vice President in a consequential conservative administration, my wife and I are continuing to reflect and pray about what our role might be, but I expect we’ll have a clearer idea and you’ll have a clearer idea in weeks, not months.”
Pence’s launch will come Wednesday afternoon next week in Des Moines, the source familiar with his plans told Breitbart News, emphasizing that Pence has selected Iowa for a launch because he intends to make the first-in-the-nation state the centerpiece of his campaign.
“If you listen to Mike Pence speak publicly, he’s one of the only people in the race talking about the future of our nation, and Iowa is the one place standing between that vision and enacting it,” the source told Breitbart News. “It seems like an important decision to make Iowa the place to launch for him.”
This source added that Pence’s deep ties to the evangelical Christian community make him a natural fit for connecting with Iowa caucus-goers over the next several months.
“There is a lot of overlap between Iowa caucus-goers and Mike Pence in terms of principles, values, faith, and this will be the first of many, many stops and visits to the state,” the source said.
Pence has already focused heavily on Iowa, too, with more than a dozen visits to the state in the last two years—and this source familiar with Pence’s plans told Breitbart News that the former vice president will visit every single one of Iowa’s 99 counties in the next several months ahead of the caucuses early next year.
“The plan is to hit each of Iowa’s 99 counties,” the source said. “Nobody else is going to do it. A lot of people are going to talk about doing it, but nobody else will do it. That’s Mike Pence—he’s all action, he’s not just about the talk.”
This source added that while Wednesday’s launch will be a rally, to expect from Pence moving forward “much more smaller, intimate, retail politics that Iowans are much more accustomed to,” noting that that “allows Pence’s authenticity and humor to shine and connect to voters.”
Shortly after Pence’s launch, the former Vice President will visit New Hampshire.