AMES, Iowa — Former Vice President Mike Pence Saturday night thanked Iowans for their previous support, urged them to support Republicans in high-profile elections in the state and said nothing about former President Donald Trump’s repeated claims about election fraud in the previous election.
“I’m calling on all my fellow Republicans to make sure we get four more years of Governor Kim Reynolds at the Statehouse,” Pence told about 100 people gathered at the Ames Golf & Country Club for the Story County Lincoln Highway Dinner, “I was with Kim Reynolds before it was cool.”
Pence several times mentioned the “Trump-Pence administration” and listed accomplishments regarding lowering the unemployment rate, reducing illegal border crossings and getting three conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Pence finds himself in a challenging situation as he assesses his political future. Can he run for president in 2024 after Trump repeatedly attacked him for failing to take part in plans to overturn the 2020 election results? Pence and most constitutional scholars say that he had no legal authority to refuse to certify the results. Would he find enough support to beat Trump if Trump also ran again? If Trump didn’t run, would Republicans who didn’t like Trump’s behavior support Pence even though he served as his vice-president?
Dave Struthers, a Story County farmer and Republican activist, appreciates Pence’s commitment to faith and conservative principles and would look forward to a Pence presidential run. But he thinks that Trump supporters may not support him in the future. “My biggest concern is,” Struthers said, “…Trump diehards… almost call them fanatics… extremist, maybe?”
Trump supporters who attacked the U.S. Capitol Building and law enforcement officers as they tried to stop Pence and Congress from certifying the election results on January 6, 2021, won’t likely support a Pence-for- president campaign, Struthers figures.
He doesn’t want Trump to run again and wishes that Trump would have resigned during his presidency. “I was kind of hoping that halfway through the term, Trump maybe would step aside and let Mike take over,” Struthers said, “but it never happened.”