Former Vice President Pence is widely rumored to be mulling a run for the presidency in 2024 — where he might face his old boss
Former Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen walk from the plane to greet supporters after arriving back in his hometown of Columbus, Ind
From left: Karen and Mike Pence
| Credit: Michael Conroy/AP/Shutterstock

Mike Pence's 2024 plans — and whether he would challenge his old boss, Donald Trump — remain publicly unclear.

But the former vice president is certainly keeping busy since he left the White House in the shadow of the January insurrection and Trump's anger that he hadn't tried to overturn the election.

Pence, 62, recently launched a podcast — a return to form for the former Indiana governor, who was a popular right-wing radio host before getting into politics — where he covers issues familiar to Republican voters (and those that will likely be fresh on conservative voters' minds in 2024).

He also announced plans to release an autobiography in 2023, part of a two-book deal with Simon & Schuster. (CNN reported the deal was for between $3 and $4 million.)

And he has made a handful of public appearances, for which a new report by Vanity Fair suggests he has been paid handsomely: some $100,000 per speech, according to sources.

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Mike Pence
| Credit: Scott Eisen/Getty

Those in Pence's orbit have not shied away from suggesting this is all in preparation for a presidential bid of his own and, these sources argue, that Pence's popularity is more real than Trump's anger at him. (A spokesman for Pence did not respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.)

Vanity Fair referenced two recent polls that found Pence dominating among Republican voters who don't want Trump to run again, with one friend telling the magazine: "You should not underestimate Pence—he has broad support among the big donors and in Congress, beyond just evangelicals. He's incredibly ambitious. He's a person who sees himself as the president. In the meantime, he's making real money for the first time in his life. Running for president is also a great way of making six-figure speeches." 

A run for office does present significant challenges even if Trump doesn't launch his own campaign, as is widely expected.

Pence angered both the former president and the GOP base by refusing to overturn the results of the election won by Joe Biden in 2020.

In a statement published hours before the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, which briefly delayed the certification session and sent lawmakers into hiding, Pence explained he had no authority to try and overturn the votes.

Pence ultimately did affirm the results for Biden and has since called Jan. 6 "a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol."

Nowadays, Pence and his wife, former Second Lady Karen Pence, are keeping up an international schedule, taking trips to Alaska and to Hungary (to assist a Christian charity's efforts with wounded service members and to advocate against the legalization of abortion at a right-wing summit) in appearances that would be fitting of someone seeking higher office.

Kyle Hupfer, the chairman of the Indiana GOP, told PEOPLE earlier this year that "he [Pence] and Karen are going to take some time to think about and pray on what their next steps are."

"It's a very popular parlor game in Indiana politics to guess what his next role will be," one source told PEOPLE in January. "But it's nearly unanimous out here that regardless of what his next move is, the world is his oyster."

As Vanity Fair notes in its latest report, the hefty sum Vice President Pence is reportedly pulling in from his speaking engagements puts the couple in a new place, financially. One unnamed Indiana Republican told the magazine "this is the first time they've had two pennies to rub together."

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From left: Mike and Karen Pence
| Credit: Rob Carr/Getty

In May, the former vice president and second lady shared on social media that they bought a home north of Indianapolis.

"So Good to be Back Home Again in Indiana!" Pence tweeted alongside emojis of a home and the American flag.

"There's no place like home and Indiana is home," Karen told USA Today, which reported the family had previously been renting a home in Arlington, Virginia.

Pence was the governor of Indiana from 2013 until 2017, when he took office as vice president alongside former President Trump.

Prior to his time as governor, Pence represented the state in Congress from 2001 until 2013.