Pence will be throwing his hat in the ring at a time when his onetime boss, former President Donald Trump, is dominating most national polls and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is clearly in second place. (Related: Polling indicates Trump's nomination by the Republican National Convention is ALL BUT GUARANTEED.)
June 7, the expected day of his kickoff event in Des Moines, was specifically chosen to coincide with his 64th birthday.
The decision to start his campaign in Iowa instead of his home state of Indiana solidifies the importance Pence's team is placing on the early-voting state, whose first-in-the-nation caucuses play a winnowing role in the nomination fight, burying the hopes of many but the most popular campaigns.
Pence reportedly views his fellow Midwesterners in the Iowa Republican Party as a hospitable home to build support for his brand of conservative politics.
"What better place to do your announcement than a place that's going to be so pivotal in the future of the nation," said one person familiar with Pence's campaign plans who spoke with NBC News on the condition of anonymity. "It certainly conveys the importance that we're placing on the state."
"We view this race as absolutely wide open, and Iowa is really going to solidify itself as the pivotal player," he added. "It's a place that values Mike Pence's principles – traditional conservative principles – deep-rooted faith and uncommon character."
These same advisers noted that Pence plans to campaign aggressively in the state, including visits to every one of Iowa's 99 counties before the caucuses begin next year.
The campaign is expected to lean heavily on town halls and retail stops, including plenty of visits to famous Iowa stores and restaurants. The goal is to showcase Pence's personality and background and to differentiate himself from his former boss.
Pence's goal with his campaign is to redefine himself to Republican voters and to distance himself from his image as Trump's former second-in-command.
Aids who spoke with media outlets noted that Pence also needs to reintroduce himself as an experienced politician. Before serving as Trump's vice president, Pence served for more than a decade in Congress and as Indiana's governor.
Part of this rebranding effort includes being willing to publicly diverge from Trump on policy for the first time since he became the former president's running mate in 2016. In particular, Pence unequivocally backs American support for Ukraine, and said that Congress and the White House should consider cuts to Medicare and Social Security to deal with the debt crisis – both positions at odds with those articulated by Trump.
In many other areas of policy, Pence remains within the mainstream of Republicanism. He is a vocal opponent of abortion and the expansion of LGBT rights and he has a Reagan-era affinity for lowering taxes, reducing regulation and increasing defense spending.
Pence has also taken to attacking Trump directly, claiming that the former president's "reckless words" and actions during the ceremonial counting of the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, 2021 endangered his family and everyone else who was at the Capitol that day. He claimed in his autobiography released last year that "history will hold Donald Trump accountable."
"For four years, we had a close working relationship," he added. "It did not end well."
Since 2020, Pence has been strategically distancing himself from Trump as he laid the groundwork for his presidential campaign. He has attempted to conduct a balancing act of praising the record of the "Trump-Pence Administration" while at the same time stressing the differences between himself and the former president, both in terms of policy and personality.
Pence has a lot more campaigning to do before he can comfortably claim some kind of success. Recent polling from RealClearPolitics, released on June 1, showed Pence's polling average at less than four percent, while Trump's was at a comfortable 53 percent.
Learn more about the upcoming fight for the Republican Party's nomination at VoteRepublican.news.
Watch this video from Next News Network as anchor Gary Franchi reports how Pence is also set to appear on a CNN Presidential Town Hall on the same day he announces his candidacy.