On Monday, former Vice President Mike Pence filed to run in the 2024 Republican Presidential primaries, only days before his appearance at the North Carolina GOP convention this weekend in Greensboro.
Pence plans to officially launch his campaign on Wednesday at an event in Iowa, an early GOP caucus state. Over the weekend, Pence spoke at a “Roast and Ride” event hosted by Iowa Senator Joni Ernst in Des Moines. Other GOP candidates attended the event, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Nomination frontrunner and former President Donald Trump did not attend.
Pence’s entrance into the race comes as he prepares for his speech to Republican party faithful at the NCGOP state convention at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro on June 10. Other candidates speaking include DeSantis and Trump. DeSantis is scheduled to speak Friday, while Pence and Trump will take the stage in separate events on Saturday.
Pence’s run will be an uphill battle against Trump, who Pence served as Vice President from 2017 to 2021. According to nationwide polling averages, Pence currently sits at around five percent, well behind Trump’s commanding lead of over 50%. DeSantis also is performing better than Pence at around 22% in polling.
A similar pattern is seen statewide in N.C. An April poll commissioned by the John Locke Foundation found Pence with 8% support, as opposed to Trump’s 55% and DeSantis’ 22%. Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley placed fourth in that poll with 5%.
Once political allies, Pence’s relationship with Trump has reportedly deteriorated in recent years, primarily over Trump’s role in the 2021 Capitol Building storming, which saw some pro-Trump rioters openly call for Pence’s death.
Pence has openly criticized Trump while hinting at his political future. At a speaking event held by Young America’s Foundation at UNC-Chapel Hill, Pence alluded that he would not support Trump in his second re-election bid.
“The former President has every right to seek office again, but there might be somebody out there I support more,” said Pence.
The state GOP convention on Saturday will be the first time Trump and Pence attend the same political event as rival candidates.
Pence is not the only candidate entering the GOP race this week. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is expected to join the race on Tuesday, a day before North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s anticipated entrance on Wednesday.
Other major candidates who have launched their campaign other than Pence, DeSantis, and Trump include former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, S.C. Senator Tim Scott, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and former radio talk show host Larry Elder.
Republican presidential primaries in North Carolina will be held on March 5, 2024, the same day as the state’s other primary elections.