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Republican allies form Super PAC to back Pence presidential bid

Republican allies form Super PAC to back Pence presidential bid
US former vice president Mike Pence delivers a speech on energy policy during the Nixon National Energy Conference at The Richard Nixon Library & Museum in Yorba Linda, California, USA, 19 April 2023. EPA-EFE/CAROLINE BREHMAN

WASHINGTON, May 16 (Reuters) - Allies of Mike Pence launched a Super PAC on Tuesday to garner support for the former vice president as he moves toward an expected run for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

The political action committee will be led by former U.S. Representative Jeb Hensarling and longtime Republican strategist Scott Reed, the group said in a statement.

“Mike Pence is the conservative leader our nation needs at this critical time,” said Hensarling, a Texan who served eight terms in Congress.

Reed, who managed former Senator Bob Dole’s 1996 campaign and was a senior strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Congress, praised Pence’s experience and policy credentials as “unmatched in the Republican field.”

Super PACS are allowed to raise unlimited sums for political purposes, provided they do not coordinate directly with campaigns.

Committed to America will begin with offices in Iowa and Dallas with Bobby Saparow, who managed Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s successful 2022 re-election campaign, as executive director.

Pence was in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, when supporters of his then-President Donald Trump stormed the building in an attempt to stop the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.

Pence drew Trump’s wrath for not supporting his false claims that the election was stolen and has since criticized his former boss for his role in the deadly riot.

Standing up to Trump has not won him broad support among the Republicans who remain loyal to the former president.

Last month, Pence was booed in his home state of Indiana at a gathering of the country’s largest gun rights lobby as he sought to present himself as a more ardent defender of gun rights than Donald Trump.

The latest Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Trump maintaining a commanding lead in the 2024 Republican primary race, with the support of 49 percent of registered Republicans. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, an expected candidate, drew 21% support, while Pence was backed by 5% of Republicans.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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