Back in another key early presidential voting state, former Vice President Mike Pence is set to speak Thursday evening in New Hampshire, weeks after using his first public address since the end of the Trump administration to say he will be "pushing back on the liberal agenda" that he says is wrong for the nation.
His choice of states, including that April appearance in South Carolina, is aimed at increasing his visibility as he considers whether to run for the White House in 2024.
Pence's relationship with Donald Trump frayed as the president pressured Pence in January to block certification of Democrat Joe Biden's election victory. But Pence, in his South Carolina remarks several months later, described Trump’s tenure as "four years of promises made, promises, kept."
Trump is increasingly acting and talking like he plans to make a run as he sets out on a more public phase of his post-presidency, beginning with a speech on Saturday in North Carolina.
Since leaving office in January, Pence has been working with the Heritage Foundation and Young America’s Foundation. His team said he plans more trips, including stops in Texas, California and Michigan.
His New Hampshire speech will be at the Hillsborough County Republican Committee’s annual Lincoln-Reagan Awards Dinner in Manchester.
This year's event has sold more tickets than ever, and is completely sold out, state Republican National Committeeman Chris Ager told NH Journal.
"Hillsborough Republicans are ready to welcome Vice President Pence back to the Granite State,'' said Ager, who is also chairman of the county GOP.
While a Politico/Morning Consult poll in May showed Trump the easy favorite among Republicans with 48%, it did show Pence the second-place choice at 13%. He was followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 8% and Donald Trump Jr. at 7%.
Pence showed far worse at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll this year at a mere 1% support. However, Pence declined an invitation to the event in Orlando, where the top vote-getters were Trump, a Florida resident, at 55% and DeSantis, the host state's governor, at 21%.
NH Journal noted that "the biggest challenge for Trump’s vice president may be Trump himself."
"Trump voters will give Mike Pence a lot of credit for being a loyal — a very, very loyal — vice president," the publication quoted a veteran GOP strategist. "But obviously on January 6, the president’s opinion of him changed," when Pence certified election results that put Trump's opponent, Democrat Joe Biden, into office.
Among other prominent Republicans, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said in April that she would stand down if Trump decided to run in 2024. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has undertaken an aggressive schedule, visiting states that will play a pivotal role in the 2024 primaries and signing a contract with Fox News Channel.
The Associated Press and Newsmax staffer Jack Gournell contributed to this report.
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