Sidelined by his old boss, Mike Pence's team is plotting a longshot campaign that pivots away from Trump and instead casts Pence as the next Reagan
Pence allies are looking to cast him as a Reagan Republican in advance of a 2024 bid, per the NYT.
The ex-VP, long tied to Trump, would seek a return to the party's roots in aiming for the White House.
"This campaign is going to reintroduce Mike Pence to the country as his own man," Pence ally Scott Reed said.
Former Vice President Mike Pence has struggled to find a lane in the modern GOP during the early days of the 2024 GOP primary. The Trump people don't need him, the anti-Trump people don't trust him, and even his evangelical base likes Trump enough without him on the ticket.
It's a complicated political position, and Pence is poised to address it by trying to turn back the clock, and enter the 2024 Republican presidential primary against his former boss, ex-President Donald Trump, by casting himself as a conservative in the mold of former President Ronald Reagan, according to The New York Times.
Per The Times, Pence — if he eventually enters the race — would seek to define himself as a "classical conservative" intent on bringing the GOP back to its pre-Trump ideological origins.
Pence is one of many Republicans trying to reset the party back to the pre-Trump era
Pence, who clashed with Trump over the certification of now-President Joe Biden's 2020 electoral victory, in recent years has sought to assert himself as a figure who could uphold what he sees as core Republican values as other candidates — including former Govs. Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas — also seek to take on that same mantle.
The former vice president, who has long been influential in evangelical Christian circles due to his firm anti-abortion stance, would seek to futher appeal to this group, while also advocating for free trade policies and fighting back against GOP involvement in the operation of businesses over ideology, according to the newspaper.
Pence is building an operation that could boost a nascent campaign effort. Committed to America, a Pence-allied super PAC, is currently being put together, according to The Times.
But he'd face major hurdles in his desire to reshape the party in a presidential race.
Trump remains by far the dominant leader in the GOP primary, while Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida — who is likely to enter the race in the coming weeks — is at the moment best positioned to potentially overtake the ex-president.
Pence would be betting a lot on Iowa
Pence, no stranger to Iowa Republicans, sees a direct path to ingratiating himself among the GOP base in the pivotal early voting state due to his staunchly conservative record.
"Iowa feels more like Indiana than any other state in the union," Pence told The Times in a recent interview as he compared it to the state he governed from 2013 to 2017. "It just feels like home."
And Pence, reflecting on the legacy of Reagan, would seek to build coalition rooted in the conservatism of the Republican icon.
"We have to resist the siren song of populism unmoored to conservative principles," Pence told the newspaper.
Despite Pence's near-universal name recognition among Republicans and his connection to Trump, allies of the former vice president say he'll still have to stand up on his own in pitching a presidential candidacy to the public.
"This campaign is going to reintroduce Mike Pence to the country as his own man," GOP operative Scott Reed told The Times. "People know Mike Pence. They just don't know him well."
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