Is He Running? He Just Bought A $10M Ad

It is looking more and more like Mike Pence is eyeing a run for the White House in 2024. Why else would an outside group headed by the former VP spend $10 million on new advertisements tying potentially vulnerable House Democrats to the failures of the Biden administration?

The advertisements, airing in 11 states, urge incumbent Democrats to support American energy production rather than relying on Russian oil.

“Before Russian bombs began to rain on Ukraine before hundreds of innocent Ukrainians lost their lives, a horrific decision had already been made,” a narrator intones. “Joe Biden caved to the radical environmentalists and stopped America’s Keystone Pipeline and dramatically increased Americans’ dependence on Russian oil, endangering America’s security and helping Russia fund their invasion.”

Pence himself does not appear in the ad, paid for by Advancing American Freedom, the outside issue advocacy group he founded, but it sure looks like he is using the ad buy to not only help his party to take down the Dems in the midterms but also positioning himself to run on these kinds of issues in 2024. 

A bipartisan group of lawmakers have backed bans on Russian oil in recent days after the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said last week she would entertain a ban – and on Mar. 8, Biden did initiate such a ban – but for Pence, his group, and ranking members of the GOP, it is too little too late.

The Pence-funded ad blitz targets four Texas Democrats, Reps. Colin Allred, Henry Cuellar, Lizzie Fletcher, and Vicente Gonzalez. It will air in Iowa, against Rep. Cindy Axne (D), and in Maine, Oregon, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Arizona, Virginia, Kansas, and New Mexico – all states where Republicans hope to turn House seats currently held by Democrats.

“In order to set the United States back on a path of energy independence, we need Congress to stand up to Putin and stand up for American energy,” Pence said in a statement announcing the ad buy.

Pence has slowly raised his profile in recent months as he considers his own political future. In a recent address to members of the Republican National Committee, Pence seemed to draw a contrast with his former boss, ex-President Trump, who has offered glowing assessments of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“There is no room in this party for apologists for Putin,” Pence told donors. “There is only room for champions of freedom.”

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