Allies of Mike Pence have launched a super PAC in support of the former vice president’s 2024 presidential candidacy, sources familiar with the plans told CNN. The organization, Committed to America, brings Pence one step closer to announcing a formal presidential bid that will pit him against his former boss, Donald Trump, for the GOP nomination.
Committed to America will be co-chaired by veteran Republican operatives Scott Reed, who managed Bob Dole’s GOP nomination-winning 1996 presidential campaign and was most recently serving as the political director for the US Chamber of Commerce, and former Rep. Jeb Hensarling, a close ally to Pence when he served in the House.
“The country’s at real crossroads and the Republican Party needs a strong conservative candidate who can win,” Reed said. “Pence has the experience, the unparalleled character, communication skills and the conservative credentials to win both the nomination and a general election.”
But the road to the Republican nomination will not be easy. Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has yet to formally announce a presidential run, already have taken up most of the oxygen on the campaign trail. And Pence’s fractured relationship with the former president – the result of his certification of the 2020 election on January 6, 2021, and Trump’s subsequent ire – has turned some of Trump’s base against Pence. The former vice president’s team appears to have taken that into account with the hiring of Bobby Saparow, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s reelection campaign manager in 2022, to serve as executive director of the super PAC. Trump routinely attacked Kemp as he sought retribution for the governor’s refusal to back his efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 win in Georgia, going as far as to recruit and campaign for Kemp’s primary challenger. Kemp, unlike so many other Republicans around the country, proved politically adept at navigating Trump’s wrath, soundly defeating former Sen. David Perdue for the GOP nomination.
“We have all the confidence in the world that the results that we were able to garner for Gov. Kemp we can duplicate for the vice president.” Saparow said of the super PAC’s strategy, which he noted would be very similar to Kemp’s ground game. “You will see that what we built out with Gov. Kemp is going to be taken to the national stage. So we will also be doing a very extensive paid voter contact program through Committed to America.”
Sources familiar with the strategy also indicated that Pence’s team would use the events of January 6 against the former president in the primary. Of late, the former vice president’s rhetoric against Trump and his actions during the attack on the US Capitol – where Pence and lawmakers were gathered when rioters descended on the building – have grown stronger. In March, he issued his strongest rebuke of Trump yet at the annual Gridiron Club Dinner in Washington, DC.
“President Trump was wrong. I had no right to overturn the election and his reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day, and I know that history will hold Donald Trump accountable,” Pence said.
The former vice president has also begun highlighting some policy contrasts with Trump while on the campaign trail, including on support for Ukraine and entitlement reform. Still, he has walked a fine line, often touting the achievements of the “Trump-Pence administration.”
Reed said part of the campaign’s effort would be to “reintroduce Mike Pence” to voters.
“People know Mike Pence, they just don’t know him well,” Reed noted. “This campaign is going to reintroduce Mike Pence to the country as his own man, not as vice president, but as a true economic, social, and national security conservative – a Reagan conservative.”
Iowa will serve as an intense initial focus for the super PAC, sources familiar with the strategy told CNN, both because of its placement as the first state on the Republican nominating calendar as well as the large proportion of self-described evangelical Christians who will participate in the state’s caucuses – a group that has traditionally aligned with Pence’s politics.
“We’re going to organize Iowa, all 99 counties, like we’re running [Pence] for county sheriff,” Reed said of the group’s strategy in the Hawkeye state. Sources said to expect the former vice president, who has already visited the state on numerous occasions, to spend even more time on the ground in Iowa in coming months.
Pence told NBC News in an interview last week that he expects “before the month of June is out, we’ll let people know of our decision” on a presidential bid.