Mike Pence plans to enter the fray for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination on June 7 with a campaign video and launch speech in Des Moines, Iowa, according to a person familiar with his launch schedule.

The former vice president, a longtime advocate of traditional conservative priorities on social and economic issues, will join the race at a time when his former boss, former President Donald Trump, claims a majority in most national polls and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is a clear second.

Redefining himself to Republican voters, most of whom know him primarily as Trump’s vice president, will be challenging.

But the Indiana-raised Pence sees his fellow Midwesterners in the Iowa Republican Party, and their first-ever caucuses in the nation, as a hospitable home for his brand of politics. Typically, Iowa caucuses play a selection role in the nomination fight, providing rocket fuel to a handful of candidates while burying the hopes of the rest.

“We see this race as wide open, and Iowa will really cement itself as the pivotal player,” said the person familiar with Pence’s plans. «It’s a place that values ​​Mike Pence principles, traditional conservative principles, deeply held faith and uncommon character.»

The former vice president will campaign in all 99 Iowa counties before the caucuses, the person said, adding that the campaign will «do the things that will put Mike Pence in an advantageous position.»

That includes a lot of retail politicking, from town hall-style meetings with Iowans to restaurant sessions. In those sessions, she will have to explain to Republican voters why she parted ways with Trump and certified his defeat in the 2020 election on January 6, 2021.

A pro-Trump mob ransacked the US Capitol that day in an effort to stop the certification, with some of the rioters chanting «hang Mike Pence.»

As he pondered a campaign in recent months, Pence signaled his willingness to part ways with Trump on politics for the first time since he became his running mate in 2016. In particular, Pence has unequivocally endorsed US support for Ukraine, saying that Congress and whites The House should consider cuts to Medicare and Social Security, positions that contrast with those articulated by Trump.

Pence, who served a dozen years in the House and four years as governor of Indiana, has long been one of the most vocal leaders in the Republican Party pushing the priorities of social conservatives throughout. of abortion to LGBTQ rights. His record also shows a Reagan-era affinity for lower taxes, less regulation and strong defense spending.

Despite their spats, Pence’s criticism of Trump has generally been indirect. The same goes for his outreach to DeSantis, with whom he also disagrees on the US engagement in Ukraine. Still, the former vice president’s entry into the race injects someone who has been defined for many Americans, for better and worse, by his decision to take on Trump when the presidency and the rule of law were on the line.

The field of contenders is growing more crowded each week, with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum set to enter the race in the coming days. That is a testament to Trump’s failure to convince Republican rivals that he is invincible and DeSantis’ inability to establish himself as Trump’s only rival.

For Pence, winning the nomination would represent a long and unlikely road back to prominence. She will take her first step in Des Moines this coming Wednesday, June 7, which is also her 64th birthday.

«What better place to make your announcement than a place that will be so pivotal in the future of the nation,» said the person familiar with his plans. «It certainly conveys the importance we’re placing on the state.»

amanda terkel contributed.