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Two Republican Primary challengers stand in direct opposition to Trump

Two additions to the Republican Presidential primary race have aligned themselves, and much of their talking points, with the movement to clear the party of Trump’s influence.  Former Vice President, Mike Pence, who served under Trump during his presidency, filed official papers on Monday.  Meanwhile, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is set to launch his campaign on Tuesday.  

Pence, whose relationship with Trump only soured during the last year of Trump’s presidency as a response to the volatile re-election campaign which led to the events of Jan. 6, has been making early visits to key primary states.  Iowa seems to be a focal point, as his brand of politics, backed by his devout faith in evangelical Christianity, should hit all the right notes with constituents there.  Meanwhile, Indiana, where he served as Governor, is expected to continue their support of Pence.  

It has already become clear that Pence will run counter to Trump, avoiding the rhetoric that made Trump a cultural phenomenon; and instead hoping to resonate with voters who want a return to meat and potatoes conservatism.  

Per a statement during his recent Iowa stop, noted by ABC News,  “I believe we have to resist the politics of personality and the siren song of populism for more timeless conservative principles, and we need to stand firm on the conservative agenda of life and liberty and a commitment to freedom that has always led us to victory.”

Indeed, even DeSantis’ campaign (and popularity in the polls) reflects a subsection of the Republican party that yearns for less vitriol and certainly less of the high profile legal issues that have plagued Trump’s campaigns, and presidency; and marred the resolve of the Christian right.  

Former NJ Governor Chris Christie has also thrown his hat into the ring.  He was a former supporter of Donald J. Trump, but also broke with him after the events of January 6.  In contrast to Pence, Christie has made it clear that he believes the way forward is to fight fire with fire, in an effort to match the fiery rhetoric of Trump instead of shrinking away from it.  Christie has made mention of his performance during a 2016 debate against Marco Rubio as proof to the efficacy of this approach.  “You better have somebody on that stage who can do to him what I did to Marco, because that’s the only thing that’s gonna defeat Donald Trump,” per a statement recorded by ABC News.

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