2024 Watch: Pence heading back to first presidential primary state

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EXCLUSIVE – Former Vice President Mike Pence returns next month to New Hampshire, the state that for a century has held the first primary in the race for the White House.

Pence will headline a fundraising event for the New Hampshire Senate Republicans on Wednesday, Dec. 8. Word of the former vice president’s appearance at the gathering, which will take place in Manchester, New Hampshire, was shared first with Fox News on Sunday. Pence is expected to serve as the main attraction for at least one other event while he is in the Granite State.

The trip will be the former vice president’s second to New Hampshire this year. Pence in June keynoted the Hillsborough County GOP’s Lincoln-Reagan Day dinner, giving a well-received speech which was interrupted numerous times by standing ovations.

PENCE, AT INFLUENTIAL GOP GATHERING, PLEDGES REPUBLICANS WILL WIN WHITE HOUSE IN 2024

The former vice president earlier this month made his second visit this year to Iowa, the state whose caucuses for half a century have kicked off the presidential nominating calendar. Pence also stopped this spring in South Carolina, which votes third in the GOP primary and caucus calendar, and earlier this month in Nevada, which holds the fourth contest.

Former Vice President Mike Pence addresses the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual leadership meeting, on Nov. 6, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Former Vice President Mike Pence addresses the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting, on Nov. 6, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Fox News)

The trips to the early voting presidential primary and caucus states will fuel further speculation that Pence is gearing up towards a 2024 GOP White House run as he crisscrosses the country to help fellow Republicans running in the 2022 elections.

The fundraiser in New Hampshire will help bring in campaign cash for Republicans as they build resources to hold their 14-10 majority in the New Hampshire Senate in next year’s contests. Republicans, thanks in part to GOP Gov. Chris Sununu’s landslide reelection victory in 2020, won back control of both houses of the state legislature, which they had lost in the 2018 elections.

Pence’s one-time boss, former President Donald Trump, repeatedly flirts with making another White House run in 2024. But the possibility of another bid by Trump, who remains very popular with Republican voters and continues to hold great sway over GOP politicians, does not appear to be deterring Pence from potentially launching a campaign of his own.

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While the former vice president remains mum in public about his political plans, he vowed during a speech earlier this month at the Republican Jewish Coalition’ annual leadership meeting that “we’re going to win back this country in 2024.” 

While Pence often praises the former president and showcases the accomplishments of the Trump-Pence administration, he’s spotlighted his differences with his old boss.

Pence, in a speech Tuesday night in Phoenix, Arizona at the Republican Governors Association’s annual meeting, noted that he will always support incumbents, according to a GOP source attending the event.

Among those sitting near Pence listening to the former vice president’s speech was GOP Gov. Brad Little of Idaho, who’s running for reelection next year. Just a few days earlier, Trump endorsed Republican Lt. Gov. Janice McGreachin, who is challenging Little in next year’s election

Trump vs. Biden in 2024

Seventy-three percent of Republicans questioned in a Marquette Law School national poll said they hold a favorable opinion of the former president. But asked if Trump should run again for president in 2024, support among Republicans for another White House bid stood at 60%, with 40% of GOP voters surveyed saying they do not want him to run.

In a rematch with President Biden, the survey indicates 42% support among all adults for the current president, with Trump grabbing the backing of 34%. Eighteen percent said they would npot vote for either Biden or Trump.

The Marquette Law School poll, conducted Nov. 1-10, interviewed 1,004 adults nationwide. The survey’s overall sampling error was plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

Biden’s N.H. stop sparks more 2024 questions

There’s been plenty of chatter and speculation in recent weeks over whether the president will run for a second four year term in the White House.

Biden, who turned 79 on Saturday, made history last November when he became the oldest person ever elected president. If he campaigns for reelection in 2024 and wins, Biden would be 82 at his second inauguration and 86 at the end of his second term.

Asked in March at the first formal news conference of his presidency about his 2024 plans, Biden said, “My answer is yes. I plan on running for reelection. That’s my expectation.”

And Democratic sources tell Fox News the president repeated that message during a virtual fundraiser earlier this month.

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Biden on Tuesday made New Hampshire – a key 2022 midterm election battleground as well as the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state – his first stop to sell the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure measure that he signed into law on Monday.

President Joe Biden speaks during a visit to the NH 175 bridge over the Pemigewasset River to promote infrastructure spending Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, in Woodstock, N.H. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Joe Biden speaks during a visit to the NH 175 bridge over the Pemigewasset River to promote infrastructure spending Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, in Woodstock, N.H. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP )

The White House spotlighted that the stop in New Hampshire was “an opportunity to highlight how the infrastructure bill can help communities.” 

But a Democratic strategist with ties to Biden world told Fox News that “there’s no decision that the White House makes about where to send the president that doesn’t have some sort of political consideration. They’re not choosing these places by accident, ever.”

And a longtime Democratic consultant told Fox News that “anytime someone comes to New Hampshire, it has implications for the next presidential election. Starting off this tour in New Hampshire, I think, says that Biden has every plan of running for reelection. So all this chatter that’s out there, this is factored into trying to tone that down, that at least at this point in time the plan is to run again. That’s part of why he’s coming to New Hampshire.”

The trip was Biden’s first trip as president to either New Hampshire or Iowa. 

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A day ahead of his birthday, the president told reporters “I feel great” after undergoing the first of his annual physical exams, which took place Friday morning at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

“Nothing has changed. We’re in good shape,” Biden said.

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