Mike Pence announced Wednesday his entry into the 2024 United States presidential election, as the former vice president goes up against his ex-boss Donald Trump for the Republican nomination.
The evangelical Christian is scheduled to appear at a campaign launch event the same day in the early-voting state of Iowa -- joining an already crowded field that includes Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Trump's closest competition.
"Today, before God and my family, I'm announcing I'm running for president of the United States," he said in an online campaign video.
Pence's announcement comes two days after papers filed with the US Federal Election Commission showed he had formally entered the race.
"I believe in the American people, and I have faith God is not done with America yet," the 64-year-old wrote in a tweet accompanying the video.
"Together, we can bring this Country back, and the best days for the Greatest Nation on Earth are yet to come!"
Pence honed his reputation as an unstintingly loyal vice president who stuck with Trump throughout a scandal-plagued four years in the White House, and brought the religious right into the tent.
But he became a pariah in Trumpworld after rejecting the Republican leader's demands that he overturn the 2020 election in his role as president of the Senate.
Berated constantly by Trump after Joe Biden's election victory -- and even heckled at a conservative conference with chants of "traitor!" -- Pence continued to praise the tycoon in public.
That changed after Trump's torrent of false claims of election fraud led to a mob chanting for Pence to be hanged at the US Capitol.
Pence announced his presidential run a day after former New Jersey governor Chris Christie joined the contest.
Former governors Nikki Haley and Asa Hutchinson are also in the race, while North Dakota's chief executive Doug Burgum is also due to announce on Wednesday.
Polls show Trump as the overwhelming early front runner, regularly posting leads on DeSantis in excess of 30 points. None of the other candidates is achieving double figures.
But the former president is facing multiple criminal investigations into his personal and professional conduct that have already yielded dozens of felony charges in New York.
© Agence France-Presse