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One week ahead of Trump Iowa rally, Pence announces return trip to key 2024 state

Former President Donald Trump heads to Iowa next weekend, which will only generate more speculation about whether he will follow through on repeated flirtations by launching a 2024 Republican presidential bid to try and return to the White House.

But a week before Trump’s rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, former Vice President Mike Pence grabbed some attention from his former boss as he announced an upcoming return trip to the state whose caucuses for a half century have kicked off the nominating calendar in the race for the White House.

The Young America’s Foundation (YAF) announced on Friday that Pence “will kick off his YAF campus lecture tour at the University of Iowa on November 1!”


The former vice president announced a few weeks after the end of the Trump Administration that he was entering into a partnership with the well-known half-century old conservative youth organization.

The trip to Iowa will be Pence’s second this year. He spent a jam packed day in the Hawkeye State in July, which included taking aim at President Biden’s administration and showcasing his social conservative credentials as he addressed the 10th annual Family Leadership Summit, which is hosted by the Family Leader, a top, Iowa-based social conservative organization of evangelicals. Pence started his day headlining a fundraiser in northwest Iowa for GOP Rep. Randy Feenstra, and later he met with other leading Iowa Republican leaders and activists. 

The former vice president’s July visit followed high profile stops earlier this year in New Hampshire – the state that’s held the first presidential primary for a century and which votes second after Iowa in the nominating calendar – and South Carolina, which holds the first southern primary and votes third in the Republican calendar. The trips to the early voting presidential primary and caucus states naturally fuel more speculation about Pence making a 2024 White House run.

Pence has been crisscrossing the country this year, helping raise money and campaign for Republicans running in the 2022 midterm elections. His latest stop was Oregon, where he keynoted a Washington County GOP fundraising dinner on Saturday night in suburban Portland.


A few days earlier Pence hosted a well-attended office opening in the nation’s capital for Advancing American Freedom, the nonprofit organization he launched earlier this year. At the event, Pence sat down for an interview with the hosts of the lively conservative “Ruthless” podcast. Besides breaking out an imitation of longtime GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell, the former vice president said that when it comes to his political future there has to be a “calling” for him to run for office rather than him “seeking” it. 

Trump remains the overwhelming front runner in all of the extremely early polls in the 2024 Republican presidential nomination race. But in hypothetical questions with Trump not on the ballot, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Pence top the large field of potential contenders in most surveys. 

DeSantis downplays 2024 talk

DeSantis, who faces a potentially challenging reelection next year, continues to spark more 2024 speculation with his political trips outside of the Sunshine State.  He was in western New York State on Tuesday, keynoting a fundraiser as he continues to haul in big bucks as he gears up for his 2022 reelection campaign.

The conservative governor saw his popularity surge among Republican voters in his state and around the nation over the past year and a half, thanks in large part to his combative push back against COVID-19 restrictions amid the pandemic. 

DeSantis pushed back against 2024 speculation this past week, telling Fox News’ host Sean Hannity “I’m not considering anything beyond doing my job.”

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“We’ve got a lot of stuff going on in Florida. I’m going to be running for reelection next year and we’re also working on a lot of things in the state beyond just the governor’s race,” the governor emphasized Thursday night on Fox News’ “Hannity.”

Cheney New Hampshire bound

In a move that will spark speculation about her potential national ambitions, Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming will headline an awards dinner later this autumn in New Hampshire.

Cheney, one of the most well-known and vocal members of the small group of anti-Trump GOP lawmakers and leaders, will be the featured speaker at the annual Nackey S. Loeb School’s First Amendment Honors program on Nov. 9. The former president and his allies have backed a primary challenger to Cheney when she’s up for reelection next year as Trump aims to oust Cheney from Congress.


The event will be held for the first time at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, which has become a must-stop for White House hopefuls over the past two decades.

Trump was a past featured speaker at the event. His headlining of the gala in the autumn of 2014 was one of his first trips to New Hampshire as he began exploring a potential run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

Paul Steinhauser is a politics reporter based in New Hampshire. 


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