Former Vice President Mike Pence has re-emerged, and has begun laying the groundwork for a potential campaign for president in 2024.
Laying the Groundwork
Without Donald Trump‘s endorsement, many are seeing the actions taken by Pence as futile. Trump was recently asked about who he believes to be the future leaders of the Republican Party, and Pence was not among those listed. Instead, Trump named Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, among others.
Still, many think that Mike Pence is going to put all of his effort into the potential presidential run, even without the help of former President Trump.
“He’s doing what he needs to be doing to lay the groundwork in the event he wants to set up an exploratory committee. You have to make money, lay the groundwork, gauge the support and then pull the trigger,” says Republican strategist Alice Stewart, who worked on Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign when Pence endorsed him.
Pence has been spotted joining conservative organizations like the Heritage Foundation, writing op-eds, giving speeches, and launching an advocacy organization promoting the accomplishments of the previous administration.
“Since leaving office in January, Pence, who served as Indiana’s governor and a member of Congress before being tapped as Trump’s running mate, has kept a lower profile. He’s pieced together a portfolio aimed at maintaining influence, paying the bills and laying the groundwork for an expected presidential run.
He’s forged a [sic] partnerships with the conservative Heritage Foundation and has even been discussed as a potential president of the organization, according to two people familiar with the discussions. He’s joined the Young America’s Foundation and a top speakers’ bureau, penned an op-ed for the Daily Signal in which he perpetuated falsehoods about the 2020 election, and recently toured a Christian relief organization in North Carolina. He will make his first public speech since leaving office next month at the Palmetto Family Council’s annual fundraiser in South Carolina, another crucial primary state.”
The problem for Pence is that none of these actions will do him any good if he doesn’t regain the trust of Trump supporters.
Some establishment Republican players in Washington, D.C. believe that Pence has what it takes to get back in the good graces of GOP voters.
“Anybody who can pull off an endorsement of Ted Cruz and become Donald Trump’s vice presidential nominee should not be counted out. He has a way of splitting hairs and threading the needle that has paid off in the past,” Stewart noted.
“I think 2024’s a long time away and if Mike Pence runs for president he will appeal to the Republican base in a way that will make him a strong contender. If and when Mike Pence steps back up to the plate, I think he will have strong appeal among Republicans nationwide,” said Republican Representative Jim Banks of Indiana, who has already endorsed Pence for president in 2024.
Jason Miller, a top Trump adviser, has previously noted that the statement made by Trump “was not an exclusive list,” meaning that the former president isn’t necessarily counting Pence out.