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  • Pence submits official documents to declare his candidacy for the presidency @Mike_Pence

    Posted on 2023-06-06 04:43:41
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    On Monday, Mike Pence officially submitted the necessary paperwork to announce his candidacy for the presidency, setting the stage for an extraordinary competition between a former vice president and a former president from the same political party. Pence faces the daunting task of winning back the support of Republicans who had largely distanced themselves from him following Donald Trump's presidency.

    Pence's entry into the race follows a tumultuous two-year period during which he found himself in the political wilderness, particularly due to his actions on January 6th in certifying the 2020 election results, despite intense pressure from Trump. On several occasions, he has encountered disapproval from the MAGA base, experiencing boos at GOP gatherings, including the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference in Florida in 2021 and even at a National Rifle Association meeting in his home turf of Indianapolis this year.

    The former congressman and one-term Indiana governor perceives an opportunity in Iowa, where his advisors believe he can regain the support of evangelical voters who played a crucial role in delivering caucus victories to candidates like Sen. Ted Cruz in 2016, former Sen. Rick Santorum in 2012, and former Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2008. To help him in this endeavor, Pence has enlisted the assistance of Chip Saltsman, the strategist behind Huckabee's campaign.

    Pence has expressed a sense of familiarity with Iowa, stating to voters in Des Moines last month, "Iowa feels more like Indiana more than any other state in the nation." However, doubts remain as to whether he can bridge the divide that emerged among Trump's most loyal supporters due to his refusal to overturn the 2020 election results on January 6th, 2021. Within Pence's inner circle, opinions varied regarding his presidential bid, with some encouraging him to run for Indiana's open Senate seat in 2024. In public opinion polls, he currently trails behind both Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, with single-digit support.

    Dave Kochel, an experienced Republican strategist in Iowa, commented, "At any other point in our politics, he would be built to succeed in the Iowa caucuses because of his approach to politics. But post-Trump, a lot of that's different because he's going to be viewed or judged through the lens of Trump."

    Over the past year, Pence has operated in a quasi-campaign mode, establishing Advancing American Freedom, which raised $7.7 million in 2021, along with a 501(c)(3) arm that has $35 million available for spending. He has devoted much of his time to promoting his political memoir, "So Help Me God," at events nationwide, where he emphasizes his Midwestern Christianity as a means of connecting with potential supporters. A second book focusing on his faith journey is expected to be released later this year.

    Pence, who has been outspoken on the issue of abortion, advocating for a nationwide ban, has been the most vocal candidate in the GOP field regarding this matter. Advancing American Freedom even filed a supporting amicus brief to the Supreme Court last summer, backing Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban, which ultimately led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

    In recent months, Pence has primarily directed his criticisms towards Trump and DeSantis, although he rarely mentions Trump by name. At the Gridiron Club Dinner earlier this year, he stated that Trump was "wrong" on January 6th and that "history will hold Donald Trump accountable."

    Pence's candidacy is further distinguished by the fact that he testified against Trump before a grand jury for nearly seven hours earlier this year, a position no other candidate has occupied.

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