2024 prelude: Mike Pence’s moves prepare former VP for likely White House run

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Pence: The Right needs ‘to have a solid agenda’

Former Vice President Mike Pence sounds the alarm on the southern border crisis on ‘One Nation.’

Alexia Newman says she’s never seen tickets for one of her events sell so quickly.

The executive director of the Carolina Pregnancy Center tells Fox News that “all the reserve seating is sold out and has been sold out for a couple of weeks and we’re still getting calls from people” regarding a May 5 dinner on behalf of the facility that’s being headlined by former Vice President Mike Pence.

Newman said that as of Friday, more than 1,600 tickets had been sold, with general admission seats still being sold.

“We’ve never had one sell this fast. It’s amazing,” said Newman, who for more than three decades has steered the Christian facility that provides counseling, supplies, and adoption services to women who decide to go through with unplanned pregnancies.

The center, located in Spartanburg in South Carolina’s solidly red northwest corner, has become a must-stop for some GOP presidential hopefuls in recent election cycles, as they’ve flocked to the Palmetto State to showcase their pro-life credentials in front of the state’s social conservative Republican primary voters.

Former Vice President Mike Pence takes part in a ‘fireside chat’ with approximately 400 pastors gathered at the First Baptist Church of Columbia, in Columbia, South Carolina on April 29, 2021.
(Fox News)

During his lengthy political career as a congressman from Indiana to the Midwestern state’s governor to vice president in former President Donald Trump’s administration, Pence has long been known as a friend of social conservatives as he’s pushed for restrictions on abortion. And the stop in Spartanburg by Pence is one of two the former vice president’s making in the coming weeks to South Carolina, which holds the first southern primary in the race for the White House and holds the third contest in the GOP’s presidential nominating calendar.

Pence will visit the state’s capital city to speak during the April 30 commencement at Columbia International University, which describes itself as a conservative, biblically focused school. Word of Pence’s address at the school was first reported by Fox News in February.

Since the end of the Trump administration 14 months ago, Pence has already made three trips to South Carolina, which for decades has played a pivotal role in deciding the eventual Republican standard-bearer.

But South Carolina’s far from the only early voting presidential primary or caucus state Pence is visiting.

The trips to the early voting states over the past year come as Pence has been crisscrossing the country to support and raise money for fellow Republicans on the campaign trail.

Former Vice President Mike Pence, during a trip to New Hampshire, greets customers at Simply Delicious Bakery in Bedford, N.H., on Dec. 8, 2021
(Fox News )

“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,” longtime New Hampshire based Republican consultant Jim Merrill told Fox News.

Merrill, a veteran of numerous GOP presidential campaigns, offered 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.”

On Thursday, Pence unveiled a detailed policy plan he dubbed “The Freedom Agenda,” which he released through Advancing American Freedom, the political nonprofit group he launched last year soon after leaving office.

“Good Morning, Chris Ryan. Great to be back on New Hampshire Today,” the former vice president said the next morning, as he joined a news-talk statewide radio program in New Hampshire. Pence also called into Kelly Golden’s morning radio show in South Carolina’s Lowcountry and Simon Conway’s afternoon radio show in Iowa, as part of a radio blitz to promote his new agenda.

Pence’s busy itinerary comes as the former vice president remains taciturn about his future political plans, especially compared to his former boss.

FILE: President Donald Trump arrives with Vice President Mike Pence for a Make America Great Again rally at Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, Michigan on November 2, 2020. 
(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Trump for over a year has repeatedly flirted with making another White House run in 2024, and he did it again on Saturday night.

“We might have to do it again, the former president said as he referred to potential third presidential campaign during a rally in Michigan. 

Pence hasn’t gone nearly as far in teasing his likely plans. He told Fox News during a visit to New Hampshire in early December that after the 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.”

And while Trump repeatedly re-litigates his 2020 election loss to now-President Biden, Pence emphasized that “elections are always about the future. Here in New Hampshire, and as I travel around the country, looking at the failed policies of the Biden administration, now more than ever I think we need to focus on the historic opportunity that we have to win back the Congress, to win statehouses, to elect conservative governors around the country.”

On deck: Haley, Pompeo

Haley will team up with Republican congressional candidate Matt Mowers at multiple stops including a grassroots rally and a fundraiser. Word of Haley’s trip was reported first by Fox News last month.

Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley campaigns with GOP congressional candidate Matt Mowers in Bedford, New Hampshire, on October 1, 2020.
(Matt Mowers campaign)

Mowers is one of the top contenders in the crowded GOP primary field in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District, a longtime premiere House swing district that the GOP’s aiming to flip from blue to red in November’s midterm elections.

The stop in New Hampshire will be Haley’s first since October 2020, when she campaigned with Mowers during his first bid for the seat. Mowers won the GOP nomination but lost the general election to Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas by five points. Republicans view the two-term Pappas as vulnerable as the Democratic incumbent runs for reelection. 

Haley on Tuesday morning will headline a fundraiser for Republican state representatives in the legislature and will also hold meetings with party leaders and activists.

Haley isn’t the only potential 2024 Republican White House contender stopping in New Hampshire this week. 

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be in the state on Thursday. 

The Army veteran and congressman from Kansas who served as CIA director and later as America’s top diplomat in the Trump administration will headline the Hillsborough County GOP’s annual Lincoln Reagan fundraising gala, which will be held at the Doubletree Hotel in Manchester. Pompeo was last in New Hampshire last August.

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