Pence Is in New Hampshire Today, for Breakfast of Eggs, Politics, and Come-From-Behind Flapjacks

Only nine percent of state Republican voters favor Mr. Pence as their first-choice candidate in a 2024 presidential primary, while 39 percent pick DeSantis and 37 percent pick Trump.

AP/Morry Gash
Vice President Pence and the Wisconsin Republican gubernatorial candidate, Rebecca Kleefisch, participate in a round table discussion August 3, 2022, at Pewaukee, Wisconsin. AP/Morry Gash

Vice President Pence will be returning to New Hampshire today amid speculation he is gearing up for a 2024 White House run.

Mr. Pence will headline the New Hampshire Institute of Politics’ “Politics & Eggs” breakfast, a traditional campaign stop for presidential contenders in the first-in-the-nation primary state. Mr. Pence last spoke at the breakfast in 2019, during the re-election campaign with President Trump.

“There is a lot of interest in his speech and from the media as well,” the Institute of Politics executive director, Neil Lesveque, tells the Sun.

He predicts the vice president will discuss Tuesday’s primary results and possibly last week’s FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago. He doesn’t expect Mr. Pence to announce a White House bid or make any endorsements in the state’s contentious GOP primaries.

“He’s usually fairly disciplined about the things that he says and how he says it,” Mr. Lesveque says.

Mr. Pence came out forcefully against the search at Mar-a-Lago last week, tweeting his “deep concern” over politicization in the Justice Department and the unprecedented nature of the raid. He wrote that the search “undermines public confidence in our system of justice and Attorney General Garland must give a full accounting to the American people as to why this action was taken and he must do so immediately.”

Mr. Lesveque speculates this statement is the start of “maybe a détente with Trump supporters.” Yet he doesn’t expect Mr. Pence to rehash old grievances: “I suspect that he’ll probably look to the future and not into the past.”

Messrs. Trump and Pence have squared off through surrogates in other states’ GOP primaries this election season, endorsing different candidates and offering competing visions for the future of the Republican Party. They’ve both earned victories — Mr. Trump in the Arizona governor’s race and Mr. Pence in Georgia’s, to name two high-profile examples.

In New Hampshire, which the GOP has committed to maintaining as the first-in-the-nation primary state, Mr. Pence polls poorly. Only nine percent of Republican voters favor Mr. Pence as their first-choice candidate in a 2024 presidential primary, while 39 percent pick Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and 37 percent pick Mr. Trump, according to a June University of New Hampshire poll. When asked who their second-choice candidate would be, most Trump supporters chose Mr. DeSantis, while only 3 percent of GOP voters chose Mr. Pence.

President Biden also polls badly among potential Democratic primary voters. The transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, topped Mr. Biden as Democrats’ first-choice 2024 candidate in a July University of New Hampshire poll, though the difference was within the margin of error. Only 42 percent of New Hampshire voters approve of Mr. Biden’s job performance, according to a St. Anselm College poll released Monday.

Yet Mr. Biden would still beat Mr. Trump if the election were held today, the University of New Hampshire poll found.

Mr. Pence likely sees an opening here, particularly considering Mr. Trump’s legal troubles.

After his speech at Manchester, Mr. Pence will be heading to the North Country for an event with GOP lawmakers. This is his second time in the state in the last four months. 

“Pence is looking forward to joining Granite Staters to discuss America’s future and how conservative candidates can restore safety, security, and prosperity to our nation,” a Pence adviser wrote in a statement to the Sun.

Mr. Pence will be traveling to Iowa later in the week for events with GOP leaders and to attend the Iowa State Fair, another classic presidential campaign stop.

When asked about the possibility of a White House run, though, Mr. Pence says he is strictly focusing on the midterms and offers a version of this stock response: “”We’ll do as our family has always done. We’ll reflect and pray and consider where we might next serve.”

Stay tuned.

The New York Sun

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