EXCLUSIVE – In a move that will spark further 2024 speculation, former Vice President Mike Pence will headline a major Republican Party dinner and fundraising event in early June in New Hampshire, the state that for a century has held the first primary in the race for the White House, Fox News has learned.
Pence will headline the Hillsborough County GOP’s annual Lincoln Reagan awards dinner on June 3 in Manchester, New Hampshire, the political committee said.
“We are very excited to have the vice president as a our keynote speaker,” Republican National Committee (RNC) member and Hillsborough County GOP Chair Chris Ager told Fox News.
News of Pence’s upcoming trip to New Hampshire comes just four days after he traveled to South Carolina, the state that votes third in the GOP’s nominating calendar and holds the first southern contest in the presidential primaries, to give his first address since the end of Donald Trump‘s administration on Jan. 20.
Pence took aim at President Biden‘s agenda during a speech in Columbia, South Carolina, to the Palmetto Family Council, a conservative Christian nonprofit, on Thursday night.
While the address to the Hillsborough County GOP is the only event announced so far for Pence in New Hampshire, it’s likely he will make other stops while in the Granite State, following his model in South Carolina. Pence kicked off his swing through the Palmetto State with a tour of the Spartanburg campus of the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, which took a leading role in assisting the Palmetto State’s efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, Pence became the face of the administration’s battle against COVID-19, as he chaired the White House coronavirus task force.
Pence then held what was described as a fireside chat with roughly 400 pastors at the First Baptist Church of Columbia, before keynoting the Palmetto Family dinner, which was sold out.
Palmetto Family president Dave Wilson told Fox News that the “genuineness of Mike Pence came through in the time that he spent with our pastors that afternoon.”
And Wilson said the standing room only audience at the dinner “has been hearing something from President Biden. They wanted to hear the counter side from Mike Pence and he gave them that Thursday night.”
Pence spotlighted in his speech that “we’ve got to guard our values … by offering a positive agenda to the American people, grounded in our highest ideals.”
And he pledged that “over the coming months, I’ll have more to say about all of that.”
The former vice president also touted that he’ll be spending the coming months “pushing back on the liberal agenda” of the Biden administration, which he stressed was wrong for the country.
His advisers said the South Carolina speech marked the start of a more vigorous travel schedule for Pence, with one or two trips per week going forward, to help fellow Republicans on the ballot this year and next year.
“You will see him on the road a lot helping for the 2022 cycle,” Marc Short, a close Pence aide and adviser who served as his chief of staff the past two years, told Fox News.
Pence will be in Texas this week to headline an event for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and will also speak a donor appreciation gathering hosted by Karl Rove, the former President George W. Bush political adviser, longtime GOP strategist and Fox News contributor.
A source close to the former vice president confirmed to Fox News that Pence will discuss the future of the Republican Party during an address in June at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute in California. The next day he will co-headline the RNC’s summer donor retreat along with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is considered another potential 2024 GOP presidential contender. News of those events was first reported by Politico.
Also in June, the former vice president will go to South Carolina, an important early primary state, to raise money for freshman Republican Rep. Nancy Mace. And in September, he’ll speak at the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference, an event on Michigan’s Mackinac Island that’s long been considered an important cattle call in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
Since the end of the Trump administration, Pence has slowly built his post-vice presidency profile. In February, Pence joined the Heritage Foundation, one of the oldest and most influential think tanks in the conservative movement, as a distinguished fellow. He’ll speak at the Heritage summit in North Carolina in June. He also joined the Young America’s Foundation, a leading conservative youth organization. And last month, Pence launched Advancing American Freedom, a political advocacy group.
Pence was last in New Hampshire in September, when he headlined a Trump-Pence 2020 reelection rally at the Laconia Municipal Airport in the state’s Lakes region.