Former vice president Pence files the necessary paperwork to challenge Donald Trump for the presidency in 2024

 Former vice president Pence files the necessary paperwork to challenge Donald Trump for the presidency in 2024

© AP Photo / Charles Krupa

Former Vice President Mike Pence declared his presidential candidacy for 2024 on Monday, setting up a challenge to his former boss, Donald Trump, barely two years after their time in the White House ended with an insurgency at the United States Capitol and Pence fleeing for his life.

According to those familiar with his arrangements, Pence, the nation’s 48th vice president, will formally launch his quest for the Republican nomination with a video and kickoff ceremony in Des Moines, Iowa, on Wednesday, his 64th birthday. He filed his candidacy papers with the Federal Election Commission on Monday.

According to Chicago Sun-Times, Trump is presently winning the early race for the nomination, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis consistently polling second, but Pence supporters see a path for a steady conservative who supports many of the previous administration’s objectives but without constant tumult.

Pence frequently praises the “Trump-Pence administration,” but a Pence nomination would represent a return to principles long identified with the Republican establishment but abandoned as Trump rebuilt the party in his image. Pence has warned against the party’s rising populist movements, and aides regard him as the race’s lone conventional, Reagan-style conservative.

Pence, an outspoken opponent of abortion rights, advocates for a national ban on the practice and has pushed against transgender-affirming policy in schools. He has stated that modifications to Social Security and Medicare, including raising the qualifying age, should be considered to keep the programs solvent, something both Trump and DeSantis have declined. DeSantis has also been chastised for his escalating conflict with Disney. He has also stated that the US should provide more support to Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression while criticizing “Putin apologists” in the party who are afraid to stand up to the Russian leader.

Pence, who defines himself as “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order,” has spent months preparing for a possible candidacy, holding events in early voting states like Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire, visiting churches, delivering policy speeches and courting donors.

Pence’s campaign sees Iowa and its evangelical Christian voters as essential to his chances of winning. According to advisers, he wants to campaign hard in the state, visiting all 99 of its counties before the state’s first-ever caucuses next year.

The campaign is likely to rely heavily on town halls and retail duties to reintroduce Pence to Americans who only know him as Trump’s vice president. Pence served in Congress and as governor of Indiana for more than a decade before being named Trump’s running mate in 2016.

Pence had been Trump’s loyal defender until the days leading up to Jan. 6, 2021, when Trump falsely claimed to Pence and his followers that Pence had the authority to unilaterally change the results of the 2020 election.

On that day, a crowd of Trump supporters rushed the US Capitol building, fueled by Trump’s lies about the 2020 election being stolen. As Pence, his staff, and his family fled for safety, protecting in a Senate loading dock, several in the mob shouted “Hang Mike Pence!”

Pence has described Trump’s behavior as dangerous, and he has stated that the country is searching for a different type of leadership in the 2024 race.

“I think we’ll have better choices,” he recently told The Associated Press. “The American people want us to return to the policies of the Trump-Pence administration, but I think they want to see leadership that reflects more of the character of the American people.”

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