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Mike Pence might run for president. So supporters are launching a super PAC to fund it

Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a luncheon Friday, April 28, 2023, in Salt Lake City.
Rick Bowmer
Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a luncheon Friday, April 28, 2023, in Salt Lake City.

A group of longtime Republican operatives is launching a super PAC supporting the expected presidential campaign of former Vice President Mike Pence.

The move is the strongest signal yet that Pence is planning to officially challenge former President Donald Trump for the GOP nomination. Pence has been signaling his plan for months with campaign-style trips to early voting states including Iowa and New Hampshire.

The Committed to America PAC will be co-chaired by former Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, and Scott Reed, who managed the 1996 presidential campaign for former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole.

"Mike Pence is the conservative leader our nation needs at this critical time," Hensarling said in a statement. "Mike can win, he is ready to lead, and I am proud to help lead the effort that will send him to the White House."

The group is a clear preview of a Pence campaign aimed at separating Pence's legacy from Trump. The group's executive director, Bobby Saparow, ran Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's successful campaign in 2022. The PAC eagerly pointed out that Kemp is known for defeating Trump's handpicked candidate in that race by more than 50 points.

The announcement frames Pence as a traditional conservative who could be a more predictable and palatable alternative to Trump. Hensarling and Reed were careful to call out Pence's "unparalleled commitment to conservative principles and the Constitution" and his "uncommon character."

Pence is scheduled to return to both Iowa and New Hampshire in the next three weeks.

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Kelsey Snell is a Congressional correspondent for NPR. She has covered Congress since 2010 for outlets including The Washington Post, Politico and National Journal. She has covered elections and Congress with a reporting specialty in budget, tax and economic policy. She has a graduate degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. and an undergraduate degree in political science from DePaul University in Chicago.