Politics

Pence Launches Own PAC Ahead Of 2018, 2020 Elections

| by Brendan Kelly

In an unusual move, Vice President Mike Pence will launch his own PAC to help Republican candidates in the 2018 and 2020 elections.

Pence's PAC, the Great America Committee filed paperwork with the FEC on May 17, according to NBC News. The group seeks to aid in the vice president's own future political interests, including supporting other Republican candidates in the 2018 midterm elections.

The PAC will be able to fund Pence's travel on Air Force Two so he can campaign for GOP candidates nationwide.

Pence is the first sitting vice president to form such a PAC. Previous officials in similar positions have used either party or campaign funds to pay for travel costs.

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A source says the Great America Committee will "provide resources for the vice president to actually support candidates who are supportive of the president's agenda."

Pence's move has sparked speculation about his future political plans, though some sources have assured that the PAC has nothing to do with the vice president running for office on his own.

"Don't read into 2020 as anything other than his running for re-election as vice president in 2020 and supporting other candidates," a source said, according to NBC News.

A senior adviser to Pence during the 2016 campaign, Nick Ayers, who will be running the Great America Committee, told Bloomberg, "The vice president is playing a leading role in passing legislation on the Hill. He wants to support House and Senate members who are helping pass the president’s agenda."

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Ayers was chairman of Pence's vice presidential campaign in 2016. Marty Obst, who will join Ayers in running Pence's leadership PAC, served as his director of operations during the 2016 campaign. Ayers and Obst launched a pro-Trump super PAC during the 2016 election called America First Policies.

It is unusual for a vice president to launch their own vehicle for fundraising. Neither preceding Vice Presidents Joe Biden or Dick Cheney launched a similar PAC of their own while in office. George H.W. Bush did form his own during his time as vice president, but the move came as he prepared for his 1988 run for president.

"Launching a leadership PAC sometimes signals an intent to run for higher office, which in Pence’s case, has been a topic of public interest ever since he was first nominated,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsible Politics.

Both Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida launched leadership PACs before announcing their individual bids for the presidency in 2015, according to NBC News.

Sources: NBC NewsBloomberg / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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