On Wednesday, former Vice President Mike Pence is anticipated to enter the competitive 2024 Republican presidential field, taking on his former employer and running mate, former President Donald Trump.
But he faces a challenging path ahead of him if he is to defeat Trump, the party frontrunner right now, for the nomination.
“Pence, who turns 64 on June 7, has continued to embrace many of Trump’s policies while portraying himself as an even-keeled and consensus-oriented alternative. He has also appealed more directly to the evangelical Christian community,” according to Salem Radio Network (SRN) News, which also noted that former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a 2016 presidential candidate, was planning to run as well.
According to some rumors, Christie will make an announcement next week, probably on Tuesday. “North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum is also planning to enter race on the same day as Pence, according to a person familiar with Burgum’s plans,” SRN News added.
Trump is without a doubt the party’s front-runner thus far, scoring far above 50% in most polls, with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who formally announced his candidacy last week, trailing far behind. According to RealClearPolitics’ average of polls, Pence is currently polling at about 4%. RCP reports that Trump’s average support is currently around 53%.
In light of that, “the growing Republican field concerns many Trump opponents inside the Republican Party. They fear a large number of challengers will splinter the anti-Trump vote and hand the party’s nomination to the former president, who can rely on at least 30% of the Republican base to back him,” SRN News noted, adding:
A staunch social conservative who stood by Trump throughout his time in his office, Pence has increasingly distanced himself from the former Republican president since his election defeat, saying Trump’s encouragement of the rioters who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, put him and his family in danger.
Pence, who turns 64 on June 7, has continued to embrace many of Trump’s policies, while portraying himself as an even-keeled and consensus-oriented alternative. He has also appealed more directly to the evangelical Christian community.
The success of his campaign will hinge on whether he can attract enough backers of Trump’s policies who are turned off by the former president’s rhetoric and behavior to build a viable coalition.
According to NBC News and CNN, Pence will formally declare his candidacy on June 7, the same day he is scheduled to attend a CNN-sponsored event in Des Moines, Iowa branded as a “Presidential Town Hall.” Early in May, Trump participated in a CNN town hall.
The former vice president was originally scheduled to speak at the Georgia Republican Party’s event on June 9. The party, however, recently informed its members that Pence “has been forced to re-schedule because of a televised national town hall at which he will be making an announcement regarding his future plans” in a memo, which was originally published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“We’re continuing to talk to people around the country and getting a lot of encouragement around the country,” Pence said in a recent appearance on Fox Business Network with Larry Kudlow, according to The Hill.
Notably, Trump is polling higher than former President Joe Biden. Additionally, the majority of Republican voters think Trump has the best chance of defeating Biden in 2016 according to a Monmouth poll issued on Tuesday.
The poll asked respondents, “Regardless of whether you currently support Donald Trump, which of the following statements comes closest to your view about which Republican has the best chance to win in 2024.”
In all, 63 percent of respondents said they thought Trump had the best chance of defeating Biden, vs just 32 percent for another Republican contender.