Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence filed paperwork Monday declaring that he was running for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, a longshot bid to overtake his former boss, Donald Trump, to become the party’s standard bearer to try to reclaim the White House from Democratic President Joe Biden.
Pence, a conservative former Indiana governor, for four years was a loyal No. 2 to Trump but had a falling out with him when Pence refused Trump’s demands to upend the congressional certification of the 2020 election results showing they had lost, leading to the January 6, 2021, riot by Trump supporters storming into the U.S. Capitol and the arrest of more than 1,000 people.
Pence, who had no constitutional power to overturn the election, fled for safety that day, hiding with his family and their security detail at a Capitol loading dock as some protesters shouted, “Hang Mike Pence!” and erected makeshift gallows on the National Mall within eyesight of the Capitol.
Trump tweeted, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done.” Pence has said that Trump “endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day” and that history will hold him accountable. More recently, Pence testified before a grand jury investigating Trump.
Now, Pence is hoping to convince Republican voters that he, not Trump nor an array of other declared or likely Republican candidates, deserve the Republican presidential nomination.
But national polls of Republicans show Trump, even as he faces multiple criminal investigations linked to his presidency, is far ahead in the nomination contest, with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in second place 30 percentage points or so behind, and Pence and others even further back with less than 5% support apiece.
Pence is formally announcing his presidential bid Wednesday, his 64th birthday, in the midwestern state of Iowa, whose Republican caucuses next year kick off the party’s voting for the presidential nomination. He made his candidacy official Monday by filing paperwork with the Federal Election Commission.
Pence, who has often described himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order,” is planning to campaign extensively in Iowa, hoping to capture the votes of evangelical Christians who favor his staunch anti-abortion stance and other right-wing positions.
In early campaign jousting, he has portrayed himself as favoring many of the policy positions from his time in the White House with Trump, but with a reserved persona and absent the frequent chaos of the Trump presidency.
Pence has warned against the growing populist tide in the Republican Party, and advisers claim he is the only traditional, conservative in the race, reminiscent of the presidency of Ronald Reagan, the country’s leader in the 1980s.
Aside from his conservative viewpoint on cultural issues, Pence has said the U.S. should offer more support to Ukraine against Russia’s military invasion, while rebuking “Putin apologists” among Republicans unwilling to stand up against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Pence is joining a crowded field of Republican presidential candidates that includes Trump, DeSantis, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie plans to launch his own campaign Tuesday evening in New Hampshire, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is also announcing his bid Wednesday.