Former Vice President Mike Pence will publicly kick off his presidential campaign on June 7 with a rally in Des Moines, according to a source close to Pence who was not authorized to speak publicly about his plans.
Pence has been expected to launch a race for the Republican nomination and lay the groundwork for a presidential campaign for months.
He has made regular visits to Iowa and is expected to attend US Senator Joni Ernst’s annual Roast and Ride fundraiser this weekend, joining more than half a dozen other presidential candidates, ahead of his official launch.
The decision to announce the campaign with a rally in Des Moines reflects Iowa’s importance in determining the future direction of the Republican Party, the source said.
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At a May 24 event in Ottumwa, Pence acknowledged Iowa’s “outsized role in shaping our nation’s leadership.”
“I honestly think the choice we make for a standard bearer in our party has perhaps never been more important,” Pence told the crowd of a few dozen Wapello County Republicans. “I believe different times call for different leadership.”
Pence plans to run an intensive campaign in Iowa, focusing on retail politics where he can introduce himself to voters and speak with them about his faith and values. He plans to campaign in all 99 counties of Iowa, the source said.
That will include acquainting Iowans with his record during his six terms in Congress and as governor of Indiana before becoming vice president under former President Donald Trump.
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Pence will host a number of events in Iowa following his campaign announcement. He is already set to participate in a CNN town hall at 7 p.m. at Grand View University in Des Moines. This event will be hosted by Dana Bash.
A March Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa poll found that Pence was viewed favorably by 66% of Iowa Republicans and unfavorably by 26%, while 7% were unsure.
His stock among Iowa Republicans has fallen significantly since a previous Iowa poll in June 2020, when 86% viewed him favorably and 7% unfavorably.
Trump has since turned on Pence and attacked him for failing to help overturn the 2020 election results on January 6, 2021, causing a number of loyal Trump supporters to turn on Pence. .
Pence sketched contrasts with some of his main Republican rivals, including Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, on issues such as support for Ukraine. Trump has expressed skepticism about the US sending military aid to Ukraine.
“There are voices in our party that basically sound like retirement,” Pence told Ottumwa. “I am someone who believes that America is the leader of the free world. We are the arsenal of democracy. We must inspire freedom and we must continue to support those who fight for freedom everywhere . “
Pence also called for changes to Social Security and Medicare to reduce the country’s spending and bring the national debt under control. Trump said Republicans should refuse to make cuts to Social Security and Medicare — a policy Pence said was “identical to Joe Biden’s.”
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Part of Pence’s speech is to return civility to government. He talked about an old essay he wrote after his first unsuccessful run for Congress, titled “Confessions of a Negative Activist.” In the essay he admits that “as a Christian I knew I should have risen to a higher standard in public debate and I failed”.
“I believe democracy depends on heavy doses of civility and I think we should be looking for leadership that will restore a threshold of civility in public life, that will bring respect back into dialogue,” Pence told Ottumwa. “Let’s fight and discuss the direction of the country but let’s do it like the Americans, with respect for each other.”
Stephen Gruber-Miller covers the Iowa Statehouse and politics for the registry. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 515-284-8169. Follow him on Twitter at @sgrubermiller.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Mike Pence to Announce GOP Presidential Bid June 7 in Des Moines