Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has launched a political action committee to boost congressional Republicans in 2022, a move sure to stoke speculation that he is prepping a 2024 presidential bid.
Pompeo unveiled CAVPAC on Tuesday, telling the Washington Examiner in an interview that he plans to invest in Republicans running for the House and Senate in the midterm elections to help the GOP recapture control of Congress. But an extensive travel itinerary that includes spending time in early presidential primary states, plus plans to back Republicans running for the state Legislature in those battlegrounds, suggests the former secretary of state is preparing for a White House bid.
Pompeo acknowledged the implications of his new PAC and did not downplay his interest in mounting a 2024 presidential campaign. But he said that for the next 18 months, CAVPAC would be completely focused on 2022.
“We're mindful that it'll be important that we take back the White House in 2024. And I can assure you that I will be in that fight in some role in 2024,” the former secretary said. “This isn't about my 2024 race, not remotely. This is about doing all — laying all the groundwork necessary to be successful in November of next year.”
“I think it's important to be there on the ground,” Pompeo added regarding his plans to hit the hustings for Republican candidates this year and next. “[I] want to meet the supporters for these people. I want to make the case to them why they need to do everything they can to help these candidates win.”
Pompeo’s ability to engage in politics was limited by federal law during his service in former President Donald Trump’s administration, first as director of the CIA and then as secretary of state. He has made up for that since leaving the State Department, making 30 stops to headline fundraisers and speak to conservative groups and conferences since Feb. 27, with at least eight more stops planned through July 26. His trips include:
Keynoting the Lincoln Day Dinner in Miami
Traveling to Dallas for a gathering of religious broadcasters
Addressing the Republican National Committee summer donor retreat
Headlining a fundraiser for California Rep. Mike Garcia
Traveling to Des Moines, Iowa, for the FAMiLY Leadership Summit
Headlining a fundraiser for Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft
Speaking to the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in Tampa, Florida
Traveling to Southern California for a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute
CAVPAC stands for Champion American Values political action committee, with Pompeo settling on the name as a nod to his military service in the Army’s armored cavalry unit. The former secretary said he would not shy away from endorsing preferred candidates in Republican primaries. He spoke briefly with the Washington Examiner about his plans for the organization. The transcript of his interview was edited for length and clarity.
Washington Examiner: Why a PAC? It’s something you had not done yet.
Pompeo: So it's a good question. So as we were staring at the problems that how can I best use the opportunities that I've had these last 10 years to serve in the federal government, how can we best use the knowledge I've gained, the skills I have, and then marry it with the causes that I care about, the elections we want to win, the legislation will get passed, we ultimately concluded we would need a team of people to do that. We'd need to build out an organization that had sufficient infrastructure to actually deliver on that. And the best way to do that was to raise the resources we needed so that we would have the tools, the people, the capabilities so that I could get where I needed to be. And I could have that message delivered in the channels that it needs to be delivered on to achieve exactly what you described, doing our best to make sure we can take back that House from [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi.
I'm going to help Senate candidates, too. We'll also be out in states across the country. I've done events for — [I] did an event for [Arkansas gubernatorial candidate] Sarah Sanders. [I] did an event for a state legislator in New Hampshire. We saw, in this past election, control of these state legislatures matters an awful lot for policy and how it gets set.
Washington Examiner: Talk about the team and the infrastructure. Depending on the PAC, sometimes it's as simple as a fundraising conduit. Sometimes there's more of a political team involved where you vet candidates and you help candidates with all the aspects of campaigning.
Pompeo: We'll do each of those things. So the team will certainly have a requirement to raise the resources, the money we need to execute the mission set. So there'll be a fundraising component to what we do, right? We just got a few months here between here in November of 2022 that we've going to get hard at it. So we'll certainly do that, but then your points well taken. All the tools that political organizations use, the capacity to understand who that most conservative candidate is but can actually win in a general election to back these state legislatures, take back the U.S. House of Representatives, will certainly have the functionality to do that. And then the platform for me to communicate. We'll need a team of folks that are helping me get to the right place at the right time to have all the groundwork laid so that we can be efficient and use my time in a way that will deliver this effort.
Washington Examiner: Are you going to endorse in GOP primaries?
Pompeo: We were already involved in a couple of primaries. I'm supporting [for] governor candidate for governor Lee Zeldin up in New York. I'm supporting Sarah Sanders in a race in Arkansas. There's more than one Republican there as well. So yes, we're going to evaluate the best candidate that delivers on the vision for conservatives that I've been working on. And when we find that person, we're going to do everything we can to help them win, not only in the primary but in the general election as well.
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Original Author: David M. Drucker