Mike Pence, other Republican presidential hopefuls come to Iowa for ‘Roast and Ride’ event

The former vice president attended the event held by Joni Ernst, and hinted at his candidacy announcement during a speech.


Cody Blissett

Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks during “Joni’s Roast and Ride” a Republican-hosted event in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, June 3, 2023.

Alejandro Rojas, Summer Editor

Ahead of next’s year presidential election, eight Republican presidential hopefuls took the stage during Joni Ernst’s annual “Roast and Ride” in Des Moines to begin campaigning to voters in the Hawkeye state.

The event, hosted in Des Moines, included a motorcycle ride that former Vice President Mike Pence participated in. Pence is expected to announce his candidacy for president next week on June 7 with a kickoff event in Des Moines.

Following the motorcycle ride was the roast, with attendees able to enjoy some barbecue while the candidates, including Pence, gave speeches. 

During his speech, Pence said the Republican party needed to provide a positive vision that was grounded in conservative principles and to not move towards popular things over things that worked.

“I believe we have to resist the politics of personality and the siren song of populism unmoored to 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,” Pence said.

Toward the end of his speech, he made reference to his anticipated candidacy announcement by saying he would return soon.

“Over the last two years, Karen and I have spent a lot of time reflecting and praying about everything that this country’s dealing with and what we might do and I don’t have anything to announce today, but I can tell you, what I’ve got [to] announce, come this Wednesday, I’m announcing in Iowa,” he said.

Pence’s speech was met with a standing ovation as waved to the crowd in attendance, as was Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ speech. DeSantis’ appearance today comes a week after he first announced his candidacy and after other appearances in the state since March.

Much like his speech in March, DeSantis highlighted on Saturday his record as governor, as well as spoke about his ongoing fight with Disney.

The others who gave speeches were conservative commentator Larry Elder, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, businessman Perry Johnson, and author Vivek Ramaswamy.

Each of the candidates gave a speech highlighting conservative values, railing against ‘wokism,’ and other topics that have become mainstays. But absent from speeches, and absent from the event altogether, was former president Donald Trump who has been campaigning in Iowa for the past few weeks.