The Republican primaries are expanding with the entrance of Former Vice President, Mike Pence, who recently announced that he was running for president in 2024. This means that he will go against his former boss, Donald Trump, who is the current frontrunner of the Republican Party.
Pence, the nation’s 48th vice president, will formally launch his bid for the Republican nomination with a video and kickoff event in Des Moines, Iowa, on Wednesday, June 7, 2023, which marks his 64th birthday, according to people familiar with his plans. He officialized his candidacy this Monday by filing paperwork with the Federal Election Commission.
While Donald Trump is currently leading the early fight for the nomination, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis polling consistently in second, Pence supporters see a lane for a reliable conservative who espouses many of the previous administration’s policies but without the constant tumult. Does Mike Pence really have a chance to win the GOP nomination?
Most opinion polls show Mr. Pence in a distant third place, with support in the low single digits. On the political exchequer, Mike Pence leans to the right of Trump, especially on social issues. Indeed, Mike Pence described himself as a “Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.” This means that we can expect the former Vice President to hold very strong stances on social issues such as abortion, LGBT rights, same-sex marriage, and so on. Ron DeSantis is already gaining ground on those issues. He started to criticize President Trump for not being conservative enough on social issues. If Mike Pence will focus on social issues as the main issues on which he runs his campaign, then he will have to first go against Ron DeSantis.
Mike Pence and Donald Trump will definitely face each other. Their confrontation will not necessarily be on issues per se, but rather on political ethics. The political rift between the Former President and his Vice President was cemented after Mike Pence refused to side with Trump on the insurrection of the U.S. Capitol on January 6. President Trump pressured Mike Pence to overturn the results of the election when he presided over the certification of the results in Congress and admonished him for lacking “courage” when he refused.
Mike Pence sided with the classical Republicans, those who believe in the strength of the institutions of the Republic. Classical Republicans are called the GOP establishment due to their long experience in dominating national politics in Washington D.C. For Trump supporters, Pence is nothing more than a traitor who rather sided with the Deep State than siding with the true patriots. It is, therefore, inevitable to see these two butting heads very soon in the primaries.
It is fair to say that compared to Trump and DeSantis, Pence’s candidacy is a long shot even though he has a better chance than Tim Scott and Nikki Haley. Indeed, Mr. Pence’s popularity with evangelical voters was seen as helping to boost his running mate to the White House. But he will find himself competing for evangelical voters with other candidates in the race including Tim Scott and Nikki Haley.
It is unlikely that Pence prevails over DeSantis. The Florida Governor, who is widely viewed as Mr. Trump’s chief rival, is currently polling a distant second in the race. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and incumbent North Dakota Governor, Doug Burgum are also planning to enter the race this week.