INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana — Former Vice President Mike Pence told Breitbart News exclusively that he is “weeks not months” away from giving the public a “clearer idea” about whether he will run for president in 2024.
“We’re getting closer. We’re getting a lot of encouragement,” Pence said when asked by Breitbart News if he is any closer to a formal decision on a White House bid. “I’ll be back in Iowa next week. I’ll be in California. Look, I think this country is in a lot of trouble. When I think about the way the Lord has blessed my family to be a leader in the Congress, to be a governor of a successful state, to be a Vice President in a consequential conservative administration, my wife and I are continuing to reflect and pray about what our role might be, but I expect we’ll have a clearer idea and you’ll have a clearer idea in weeks, not months.”
Pence, who has been crisscrossing the nation in recent months promoting his vision for the country, has long been considering a campaign for the White House. Should he decide to run, that decision would pit him against his former running mate, former President Donald Trump—the current frontrunner for the GOP nomination—and several others, including declared candidates former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) has launched an exploratory committee for the office, and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are both said to be actively exploring campaigns. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is also considering running, and a group he controls that would become a Super PAC should he get in the race—called “Never Back Down”—has been hiring political consultants as staff. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, meanwhile, formally ruled out a bid in 2024 last week, saying he has decided he will not run this cycle for the presidency.
Pence’s interview with Breitbart News came just before his speech at the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual gathering on Friday afternoon last week, where both he and Trump faced off, competing to win the hearts and minds of the GOP faithful and base voters here. Some estimates had the crowd of attendees at the full NRA conference at north of 75,000 attendees, making the gathering in Pence’s home state capital city one of the biggest annual groups of conservative voters and a major opportunity to connect with the very people who will decide the GOP nominee for president. Others, like Haley and DeSantis, sent recorded videos to be played at the convention, but Ramasawamy also appeared on stage in person.
Pence was happy to brag about Indiana’s success in recent years. For a state that has reddened significantly since it voted for former President Barack Obama in 2008, Pence noted that Indiana is a model for the nation for conservatism.
“For most of my lifetime, Indiana had Republican and Democrat governors and senators,” Pence said, noting the state’s pedigree of being a battleground. “But we’re on a run now of going on our fifth consecutive term of Republican governors, Republican majorities in the legislature, and we’ve literally turned Indiana from a swing state into a solid red conservative state. I think it’s a result of Republican leadership, standing on conservative principles, and delivering the results that Indiana has been able to generate in terms of job creation, in terms of public safety, in terms of values, in terms of education reform.”
Asked if it’s a long way from 2008 when Obama won here, Pence said, “That’s right.”
Trump, of course, won the GOP nomination here in 2016, as after his victory in the GOP primary his final two competitors, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and then-Ohio Gov. John Kasich, suspended their campaigns, clearing the way for Trump to be the GOP nominee that year. Trump would then go on to select Pence, then the governor of Indiana, to be his running mate, and the two would go on to win the White House together and defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton and her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).
“The success that our ticket had, that the president had in the primary and then we went on to have great success in 2016 and 2020 in Indiana, I think is evidence of the fact that when you put conservative principles into practice and when you deliver results, Hoosiers rally around that just like every other conservative American,” Pence told Breitbart News.
Pence also said that he thinks other states like Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and more are following the lead of Indiana in getting redder in recent years despite possibly having a history of bipartisanship. “I think it is,” Pence said when asked if Indiana is a model for the movement seen in other places. “I think it’s the consistent conservative message and then saying what you mean, meaning what you say, delivering on the promises, and the other piece of it is just the Democratic Party has been captured by the radical left. Literally, the policies at home and abroad are so far out of step with everyday Americans that I think we’ve got a historic opportunity in 2024 for a realignment of the direction of this country and states across the country and in our nation’s capital as well.”