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Pence making first trip to Iowa since leaving VP role

DES MOINES — Former Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to visit Des Moines and Sioux Center today, his first stops in the state since leaving office.

Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO of The Family Leader — the organization that’s hosting one of the events where Pence is scheduled to speak, considers Pence one of a handful of “front-runners” for the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination — if Donald Trump doesn’t run.

“If Trump were to get in and secure the nomination, because he has a very vibrant base, all of a sudden it becomes: ‘Who is going to be the VP?’” Vander Plaats said. “Now you could see a Kristi Noem get raised, a Tim Scott get raised and even people who aren’t running for president, like Governor Kim Reynolds.”

Vander Plaats said he would not expect Trump to offer the VP slot to Pence again, nor does Vander Plaats think Pence would accept it. A week ago during an appearance on Iowa PBS, Vander Plaats was asked if Pence did the right thing in certifying the Electoral College outcome in January.

“The question I ask to people who push back on that is…’Do you want Vice President Harris in a few years to be able to do what Mike Pence was asked to do?’ And I think common sense would say: ‘No,’” Vander Plaats said.

Polls show a segment of Republicans, though, believe Pence should have refused to certify Joe Biden as the 2020 victor. At a recent conservative conference in Florida, chants of “traitor” rose from the some in the crowd as Pence started speaking.

“He will not be booed at our event,” Vander Plaats said. “I read an article about when he spoke in Orlando…when he got heckled. When he spoke in New Hampshire, it was a sold out crowd and recorded eight standing ovations.”

Vander Plaats suggests continuing to focus on the 2020 election outcome is unwise for the GOP. “We need to keep our focus on 2022 as well as 2024,” Vander Plaats said.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will also speak at today’s Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines. Vander Plaats describes both as presidential candidates of the future, although, Noem has said she doesn’t plan to run for president. Pence is due to headline a midday fundraiser in Sioux Center for Congressman Randy Feenstra. Early this evening, Pompeo will speak at a fundraiser in Ottumwa for Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks.


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