2024 Watch: Former Vice President Mike Pence returning to New Hampshire next month
By Paul Steinhauser, Fox News
Former Vice President Mike Pence will return next month to New Hampshire, sparking further speculation about the likelihood that Pence is gearing up for a White House run in 2024.
Pence on Aug. 17 will headline the New Hampshire Institute of Politics’ “Politics and Eggs.” For two decades the St. Anselm College speaking series has been a must stop for presidential candidates and potential White House contenders visiting the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state.
“There’s a tremendous amount of interest in hearing from the former vice president. I’m asked all the time, ‘When are you having Vice President Pence to the institute?’” New Hampshire Institute of Politics executive director Neil Leveque told Fox News.
Pence will also make other stops while in New Hampshire, including an event with GOP state lawmakers in the North Country.
The visit will be Pence’s second to the Granite State this year, following a late May stop where the former vice president headlined the New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women’s annual Lilac Luncheon and took part in a roundtable discussion with law enforcement members that was held at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. Pence also traveled to New Hampshire twice last year – with visits in June and December.
The former vice president’s also made multiple stops the past year and a half in Iowa – whose caucuses lead off the presidential nominating calendar – and South Carolina – which votes third in the GOP calendar – and one in Nevada, which votes fourth in the Republican schedule.
When asked about a White House bid, Pence answers with his often-used line that after November’s midterm elections are over, “we’ll do as our family has always done. We’ll reflect and pray and consider where we might next serve.”
If Pence does run in 2024, he may face off in a GOP field that also includes his onetime boss, former President Donald Trump, who for a year and a half has repeatedly teased making another presidential bid. The former president seemed to indicate in an interview published Thursday by New York Magazine that his 2024 decision is about when – not if.
“I would say my big decision will be whether I go before or after,” Trump said in an interview published Thursday, seemingly referring to the midterm elections.
The comments, which grabbed plenty of attention, seemed to confirm previous reporting from a handful of news organizations, including Fox News, that the former president and his top political aides have been mulling the timing of when Trump should announce a 2024 bid. And Fox News confirmed a recent report from Politico that Trump’s been discussing his 2024 plans with top donors at small dinners in recent months.
Regarding a Pence visit, longtime New Hampshire based Republican consultant Jim Merrill told Fox News that “this is the year that likely candidates want to lay the groundwork to build the foundation in the early primary and caucus states and Mike Pence has been a leader among the potential candidates in doing just that.”
Merrill, a veteran of numerous GOP presidential campaigns, argued that “Pence is very clearly preparing a run for president. He’s doing so methodically and spending time in the right places to lay the groundwork what I think will be a well-received campaign for president.”
Republican National Committee member from New Hampshire Chris Ager praised Pence as someone who’s “been extremely helpful in fundraising for our local candidates and it’s much appreciated.”
And Ager said the former vice president’s visit “maintains our high level of relevance on the national scene and it’s great for the candidates because they get to interact with smaller groups of people and get a real pulse of what’s on the mind of average voters.”