Former US Vice-President Mike Pence has officially filed paperwork to join an increasingly crowded field of Republicans running for president.
Mr. Pence, who is 63, is set to formally launch his campaign with a video, speech and townhall event in the early voting state of Iowa on Wednesday.
The move pits him against Donald Trump, the man he served in the White House for four years from 2017-21.
The former president is currently polling well ahead in the race.
Most opinion polls show Mr. Pence in a distant third place, with support in the low single digits.
The former Indiana governor and congressman is expected to position himself as a continuation of the Trump administration’s conservative agenda, without the baggage.
Pence describes himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order”. He was an unswervingly loyal deputy to Trump through much of their four years in office.
But he has distanced himself from his old boss since the riot by Trump supporters at the US Capitol in January 2021.
Trump pressured Pence to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory when he presided over the certification of results in Congress. He also rebuked him for lacking “courage” when he refused.
Some rioters were heard chanting “hang Mike Pence” as they stormed the halls of Congress; many Trump loyalists also see him as a traitor.
The former vice-president said in March that Trump’s encouragement of the rioters had “endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day”.
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Pence has spent months laying the groundwork for his run and is banking on a strong performance in Iowa.
Religious conservatives are an influential voting bloc in the state. In 2016, they also helped Texas Senator Ted Cruz narrowly defeat Trump.
Pence’s popularity with evangelical voters was seen as helping to boost his running mate to the White House.
But he will find himself competing for evangelical voters with other candidates in the race, including South Carolina Senator Tim Scott and former US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is widely viewed as Trump’s chief rival, is currently polling a distant second in the race. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and incumbent North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum are also planning to enter the race this week.