Former Vice President Mike Pence and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are preparing to launch bids for the 2024 Republican presidential slot.
A strategist knowledgeable of Christie’s plans told The Epoch Times on May 31 that Maria Comella will run his upcoming campaign. Comella worked on Christie’s 2016 presidential bid. She was also chief of staff for former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The strategist told The Epoch Times that Mike DuHaime, CEO of MAD Global Strategy Group, will be an adviser to Christie. DuHaime also previously worked for Christie and various other Republican politicians, including as the head of Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential run and in a regional role for former President George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign.
A source familiar with Pence’s plans confirmed that the Indiana native will formally announce next week.
The two men are part of a rush of new entrants to the race, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.). New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu told CNN’s Jake Tapper he’ll soon decide whether to enter the race. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin may also enter the race.
Pence and Christie join former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, conservative radio host Larry Elder, and a range of other minor candidates, many of whom have been touring Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and other critical early states for weeks.
Former President Donald Trump, who threw his hat in the ring last November, is the frontrunner among Republican caucus and primary voters.
An Emerson College poll released May 25 showed the ex-commander-in-chief ahead of DeSantis by 42 points in Iowa among the state’s Republican caucus electorate. Pence, Haley, Scott, and Ramaswamy came in third, fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively.
More candidates means more competition for the anti-Trump vote. That ultimately benefits the former president.
Ramaswamy and DeSantis have sought to reach relatively conservative voters and other Americans worried about the size and power of the federal government.
Anti-woke Ramaswamy in April pledged to “shut down [and] replace” both the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the FBI. Just days ago, DeSantis said he too would back a move to defund the IRS.
Christie, by contrast, could seek to position himself as an aggressively anti-Trump centrist.
In an early May appearance on the “Hugh Hewitt Show,” the Garden State ex-governor said America needs “a president who will be very deliberate and smart about what comes out of their mouth.”
“We need to have someone on the [debate] stage who’s going to challenge the president [Trump] frontally, directly,” Christie said.
“If I decide to get into the race, I will not shrink from that challenge, and I won’t try to play cute with it, because playing cute with it, I think, will lead to a bad result,” he added.
Christie’s possible role as the 2024 anti-Trump candidate garnered the approval of Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin.
“Christie has the verbal skills and chutzpah that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis lacks to attack Trump in ways that could do real damage,” she wrote on Twitter on June 1.
CPAC Chairman Matt Schlapp sounded skeptical about the Christie bid on a recent NewsMax panel.
“In America, we have the freedom to do anything we want. And donors can write him checks, I suppose,” Schlapp said.
“I don’t understand his point of view now. He was all for Trump, and now he seems to be always against Trump, and so, what’s his lane?” he added.
In his Hewitt interview, Christie disputed the notion that Jan. 6 prosecutions are political.
“The idea that somehow this is a political action is just, to me, wrong,” he told Hewitt.
Pence, meanwhile, has played up his bona fides as a tradition-minded religious conservative, including during a recent appearance at the Russell Kirk Center in Michigan.
In a May 31 post on Twitter, the born-again Christian condemned the Los Angeles Dodgers’s decision to welcome an anti-Catholic LGBT drag group to its Pride Night event.
“Having been raised in a Catholic family, the Dodgers decision to invite the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a hateful group that blatantly mocks Catholicism, to their event next month is deeply offensive,” he wrote.
“The MLB should not be apologizing to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, they should be apologizing to Catholics across America. America’s pastime should respect the faith of every American no matter what,” he added.
“I think Mike Pence is the first (presumed) Republican primary candidate to address [the Dodgers] honoring an anti-Christian drag performers [sic],” conservative commentator Megan Basham wrote on Twitter on June 1.
Unsurprisingly, Pence’s decision to run has met with criticism from Trump backers.
“Mike Pence is the definition of milquetoast,” Ryan Fournier of Students for Trump wrote on Twitter on May 31.
From The Epoch Times