Pence to deliver first post-VP speech in South Carolina as he eyes political future

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Former Vice President Mike Pence will head to South Carolina next month to deliver his first public address since the end of the Trump administration.

Pence will keynote a dinner hosted by the Palmetto Family Council, a conservative Christian nonprofit, on April 29 in Columbia, South Carolina, Fox News confirmed on Monday.

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While Pence has remained quiet about his future political plans, pundits consider him a likely 2024 Republican presidential contender. The stop in South Carolina will no doubt spark more speculation, as the Palmetto state holds the first southern primary and votes third in the GOP presidential nominating calendar.

Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a "Save the Majority" rally on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

The former vice president’s stayed far from the political spotlight since the beginning of President Biden’s presidency on Jan 20. But last month Pence joined the Heritage Foundation, one of the oldest and most influential think tanks in the conservative movement, as a distinguished fellow – as well as joining the Young America's Foundation, a leading conservative youth organization.

Marc Short, a close Pence aide and adviser who served as the then-vice president’s chief of staff the past two years, told Fox News last month that Pence will also likely be "very active" in helping fellow Republicans on the campaign trail during the 2022 midterm election cycle.

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Pence also met last month with the Republican Study Committee, which is the largest and oldest group of House Republicans. And in an op-ed earlier this month for The Daily Signal, a conservative blog affiliated with the Heritage Foundation, he took aim at the Democrats’ sweeping election reform bill that passed the House along party lines last week.

During his long political career, as a congressman from Indiana to the midwestern state’s governor, Pence has pushed for restrictions on abortion. A Pence aide who asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely told Fox News the former vice president will spotlight his conservative values in the address but also point to the accomplishments of the Trump administration the past four years.

The Palmetto Family Council is a strong advocate for what it highlights are "biblical values," such as heterosexual marriage, and has advocated for bans on abortion.

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Palmetto Family President Dave Wilson told Fox News that Pence will address roughly 450 to 600 ticketed guests at the group’s sponsored dinner, which will take place at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

Wilson told Fox News that Pence’s "support of Christian conservative values was a major reason for us reaching out to him. Mike Pence represents a lot of what Christian conservative voters recognize as a impactful part of the Trump-Pence administration."

Paul Steinhauser Fox News