Former United States Vice President Mike Pence has formally announced he will campaign for the Republican nomination for the 2024 presidential race.
The announcement sets him up against former President Donald Trump, the current frontrunner and Pence’s former boss.
Pence’s campaign filed a declaration of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission on Monday and the 63-year-old is expected to launch his campaign on Wednesday in the early nominating state of Iowa.
A staunch social conservative and evangelical Christian, the former governor of Indiana has increasingly distanced himself from Trump after rejecting the former president’s demands that he overturn the 2020 election in his role as president of the Senate.
Pence joins a crowded and still-growing field of Republican candidates, which includes Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Senator Tim Scott and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum is also planning to enter the race on Wednesday, according to a person familiar with Burgum’s plans, while former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is jumping into the race on Tuesday, bringing the total number of Republican candidates into double digits.
The number of candidates vying for the nomination concerns many Trump opponents inside the Republican Party who fear the anti-Trump vote could be split, handing the party’s nomination to the former president.
Pence has spent much of the last two years touring early-nominating states such as Iowa and New Hampshire to reinforce his political vision as a “Christian, conservative, Republican – in that order.”
He is framing himself as a traditional Republican, concerned with fiscal responsibility and family values, who can deliver Trump’s economic policies without the drama.
He has also allied himself strongly with Ukraine and refused to rule out cuts to welfare payments.
While his politics are popular among Republicans, critics question whether Pence has a constituency in a party that is more focused now on populism and cultural politics than traditional conservatism.