Mike Pence, Nikki Haley returning to Iowa for Sen. Joni Ernst’s Roast and Ride

By: - May 16, 2023 4:30 am

Former Vice President Mike Pence attended the Republican 4th Congressional District convention in Carroll on April 23, 2022. (Jared Strong/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst announced two Republicans from the Trump administration will be special guests at her annual “Roast and Ride” event June 3.

Ernst announced Monday that former Vice President Mike Pence will be attending her event. The charity fundraiser has been one of the prominent Iowa caucus stops for Republican presidential candidates since Ernst took office in 2015.

Pence is not officially in the running for the 2024 Republican nomination, but he has said he plans to make a decision on running in the coming weeks.

Pence, “an avid Harley-Davidson rider” according to Ernst, will participate in the motorcycle ride heading from Big Barn Harley Davidson in Des Moines to the Iowa State Fairgrounds, as well as the “Roast and Rally” grilling pork and talking with voters afterward at the fairgrounds’ Animal Learning Center.

The “Roast and Ride” is an annual fundraiser for veterans’ charities, with the 2023 proceeds going to the Freedom Foundation in Cedar Rapids.

In its first year, seven Republican presidential candidates came to the event. Even during non-caucus years, well-known conservatives like now-Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders and former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley came to Iowa for the event.

Haley, running for president in 2024, is also attending the 2023 Roast and Ride as a special guest. Both Pence and Haley have already held events with Ernst this year: Both sat down with her for foreign policy forums through the Bastion Institute, a conservative foreign policy organization in March.

The June 3 event will begin with the motorcycle ride at 10:30 a.m., with food and speeches from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the state fairgrounds. Tickets are available online.

This article first appeared in the Iowa Capital Dispatch, a sister site of the Nebraska Examiner in the States Newsroom Network.

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Robin Opsahl
Robin Opsahl

Robin Opsahl is an Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter covering the state Legislature and politics. Robin has experience covering government, elections and more at media organizations including Roll Call, the Sacramento Bee and the Wausau Daily Herald, in addition to working on multimedia projects, newsletters and visualizations. They were a political reporter for the Des Moines Register covering the Iowa caucuses leading up to the 2020 presidential election, assisting with the Register's Iowa Poll, and reporting on Iowa's 4th District elections.