Former Vice President Mike Pence said in a new interview that anyone “serious” about running in the 2024 GOP presidential primary must enter the race in June.
Pence made the comments after being asked by CBS News about his own timeline for launching a presidential bid, telling the channel he would make a final decision “well before the end of June.” While former President Donald Trump continues to dominate the polls as the party leader since entering the race last year, Pence has refrained from throwing his hat in the ring as he mulled over the idea with family.
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“I think anyone who is serious about seeking the Republican nomination should be in this contest in June,” Pence said in an interview clip released Saturday. “I think if we have an announcement to make, it will be well before the end of June.”
If he was leaning toward running, Pence replied, “Well, I’m here in Iowa.” The answer could be taken in the affirmative, given that politicians traveling to Iowa are common before the launch of a presidential campaign, although it is far from an official confirmation.
The former vice president has repeatedly said he hopes to announce his 2024 plans this spring. He appears to be actively considering a run despite the shyness, as evidenced by his frequent travel to the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Asked about his plans in mid-March, Pence said he had received “a lot of encouragement” to jump into the race.
“I can tell you we’re getting close,” he said of his thoughts at the time on a decision. “I’ve spent time with our family, I’ve been listening to friends from all over the country. And I hope that before too long, we’ll know what our calling is. It’s about what we feel called to do.”
In what could be a preview of his 2024 strategy, Pence has slowly begun to distance himself from Trump as he moves toward his anticipated rivalry.
Pence largely avoided discussing what happened between him and Trump, instead remaining quietly at a distance until after last year’s midterm elections. Their feud resurfaced occasionally in the news cycle at the time, when the two supported opposing candidates in the Republican primaries. The primary contests served as a back-and-forth test of Trump and Pence’s respective positions on the GOP and highlighted the divisions that developed between them.
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Finally, he spoke of the months-long pressure campaign he faced under the then-president as he refused to acknowledge his election loss or accept his inability to overturn it in his memoirs, published a week after the mid-term.
The former vice president has since refused to endorse his former boss’s 2024 bid, arguing that the Republican primary electorate will have “better options.”