Former US vice-president Mike Pence is to run for the White House, it has been confirmed
On Monday Mr Pence filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to declare himself a candidate for the 2024 election.
The move sets up an unprecedented contest between a former vice-president and a former president running for their party’s nomination.
Mr Pence served as Donald Trump’s vice-president between 2017 and 2021.
Mr Pence is expected to launch his campaign formally for the White House at an event in Iowa on Wednesday, when he will also take part in a town hall with potential voters, to be broadcast by CNN.
However, the former vice-president is joining what is an increasingly crowded field to secure the Republican Party nomination.
Pence, who describes himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order,” has spent months laying the groundwork for an election bid, holding events in early-voting states such as Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire, visiting churches, delivering policy speeches and courting donors.
Some observers see Iowa and its evangelical Christian voters as a critical path if Mr Pence is to win the nomination.
A key issue for Mr Pence in the contest for the Republican nomination will be to win over party supporters unhappy that he did not back Mr Trump’s campaign to hold on to the White House after the 2020 election.
Mr Pence was a strong defender of Mr Trump for the vast bulk of his presidency.
However, he resisted strong pressure from Mr Trump to send the results from some key areas in the 2020 elections back to the states.
However, Mr Pence insisted he did not have such powers under law and instead certified Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 election.
It was this decision not to send results back to some state legislatures, which were controlled by Republicans, that led to supporters of Mr Trump chanting that Mr Pence should be hanged, when they broke into the Capitol building on January 6th, 2021.
As rioting took place at the Capitol and protesters broke into the building, Mr Pence and his family were rushed off the Senate floor and into hiding.
Mr Trump tweeted: that “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done”.
Mr Pence has described Mr Trump’s actions as dangerous and said the country is was looking for a new brand of leadership in the 2024 election.
Mr Pence’s campaign believes that his strong anti-abortion views could be popular with evangelical Republicans in Iowa. But at some conservative events he has been booed and heckled by supporters of Mr Trump.
At present polls suggest Mr Trump is far and away ahead of all other Republican candidates. Florida governor Ron DeSantis is in second place, although between 20 and 30 points behind Mr Trump.
Mr Pence has polled in single digits in all polls published so far.
The field of candidates in the Republican contest is expected to get bigger in the coming days.
Former New Jersey Gov. governor Chris Christie plans to launch his own campaign this week in New Hampshire, and North Dakota governor Doug Burgum will announce his bid on Wednesday in Fargo.
Others who are already running for the Republican nomination, in addition to Mr Trump and Mr DeSantis, include former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson.
Meanwhile, in a separate development on Monday lawyers representing Mr Trump in the investigation into his handling of classified documents found last year at his home in Florida, are understood to have held talks to with officials in the department of justice in Washington amid speculation that the process is reaching a conclusion.