Pence, Christie plan 2024 campaign launches -sources

STORY: In the coming days, two familiar faces are set enter the 2024 Republican presidential primary Former Vice President Mike Pence, and Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

That’s according to sources familiar with the candidates' plans. Pence will soon launch his campaign with a video and speech in Iowa.

A source tells Reuters Christie will launch his campaign at a town hall in New Hampshire next week.

And both face an uphill challenge in taking on former President Donald Trump.

Pence, who incurred Trump’s wrath by refusing to support his effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election, has increasingly distanced himself from his former boss… and has said Trump's encouragement of rioters on January 6, 2021, put him and his family in danger.

But Pence has continued to embrace many of Trump's policies, while portraying himself as an even-keeled alternative. He has also appealed more directly to the evangelical Christian community, having spent significant time in recent months touring mega-churches across the country.

But he's seen little success denting Trump's popularity. On June 1, Pence's polling average in the Republican field was less than 4%, compared to Trump's 53%, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polls.

As for Christie – he enters the race as a decided underdog, six years after his 2016 presidential campaign failed to gain traction. Only 1% of Republicans said he would be their preferred 2024 nominee in a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted May 9-15.

The former governor was an early backer of Trump in 2016. But he's been dogged by his own political scandal, known as "Bridgegate," where aides testified Christie knew about a plan to close lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge and create a major traffic jam to punish a political rival.

Pence and Christie would join an increasingly crowded field – one that includes Florida Governor Ron Desantis - in running against Trump in the 2024 race.