Mike Pence is running for president. Does he have any chance of beating Trump or DeSantis?
What We Know: The former vice president will challenge the president he served for the Republican presidential nomination.
Mike Pence: Can He Win?
Former Vice President Mike Pence told RealClearPolitics on Wednesday that he had made a decision on whether to run for president and would announce it in Iowa next week.
“We will be announcing our decision next week in Iowa,” Pence told the site. “Karen and I are looking forward to being back in Iowa, and I’d expect that we’re going to be spending a fair amount of time in Iowa in the days ahead.”
Politicians aren’t known for going all the way to Iowa to announce that they’re not running for president and indeed, Semafor reported Wednesday that Pence will in fact enter the race on June 7. The launch will include a launch video as well as an Iowa speech.
Pence’s run will represent a rare case of a former president and the vice president who served him running against one another for the presidency, as well as an instance of one candidate running against the man who has testified against him. And of course, such a matchup would pit Pence against the man who essentially left him for dead during the January 6 riot in 2021.
A Pence candidacy will require the former vice president to both taut the things he accomplished as part of the Trump Administration, while also making the case that he is himself a better choice than the man he formerly served.
Mike Pence was a member of Congress, and later governor of Indiana, before Trump named him his running mate in 2016.
Pence, between the autobiography and the trips to early primary states, has looked a lot like a presidential candidate in recent months.
However, Mike Pence will enter the race far behind. According to the Morning Consult tracking poll, the ex-veep is in third place, with about five percent of the vote. This places him well behind both Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis, but ahead of the rest of the field. Since the tracking poll began last December, Pence has consistently been in third place, usually in mid-single digits.
“Boy, if he’d never been through January 6, and had the ramifications of all that, he’d be particularly well built for the Iowa caucuses now,” said Dave Kochel, the veteran Iowa Republican strategist, told Politico of Pence’s chances. “Maybe he can overcome that stuff, but that’s why we run the campaign. We’ll find out.”
Also this week, Pence waded into a culture war battle, in the form of the controversy over the Los Angeles Dodgers’ invitation to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an LGBTQ group, and street performance organization that sometimes dresses as nuns, to their upcoming Pride celebration. The Sisters had been removed from the Pride event, leading to an outcry and their reinstatement.
“Having been raised in a Catholic family, the Dodgers’ decision to invite the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a hateful group that blatantly mocks Catholicism, to their event next month is deeply offensive,” Pence wrote Wednesday in an extended tweet which showed that his account is subscribed to Twitter Blue.
Mike Pence, as vice president, had exited an Indianapolis Colts NFL game in 2017, after a player on the field protested the national anthem.
Also this week, Pence was dropped as the keynote speaker at the Georgia Republican Party’s state convention, where he has been replaced by former Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake. Per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Pence has been scratched because his launch event in Iowa is taking place that week.
The newspaper, however, noted that the inclusion of Lake as a keynote speaker “is a sign the convention is wading deeper into ‘MAGA’ waters.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is also set to speak at her home state’s convention, with a couple of presidential candidates, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Vivek Ramaswamy, also on the bill.
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Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.