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Pence exits 2024 election race, cites lack of republican support

By Jake Beardslee · October 28, 2023

In brief…

  • Mike Pence ended his 2024 Republican presidential campaign on Saturday due to lack of support and fundraising.
  • Pence struggled to compete against the popularity of Donald Trump among Republican voters.
  • Pence drew criticism from both Trump supporters and opponents for his role in the 2020 election outcome.
  • Polls show most Americans view Pence negatively as a result of his close association with Trump.
Mike Pence suspended his struggling 2024 presidential campaign on Saturday.  Tom Caprara / Wikimedia

Former Vice President Mike Pence suspended his campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination on Saturday, conceding that he lacked the support and fundraising needed to compete with his former boss Donald Trump.

Speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual conference in Las Vegas, Pence told the surprised crowd “It’s become clear to me: This is not my time.” He said after much thought and prayer he had decided to end his White House bid, acknowledging “We always knew this would be an uphill battle.”

Pence received multiple standing ovations from the friendly audience. But he struggled to gain traction since entering the race, facing the popularity of Trump among Republican voters. Pence did not immediately endorse another candidate, but continued to subtly criticize Trump, saying “I urge all my fellow Republicans here, give our country a Republican standard-bearer that will, as Lincoln said, appeal to the better angels of our nature and not only lead us to victory, but lead our nation with civility.”

By dropping out now, Pence avoids accumulating more debt and the potential embarrassment of failing to qualify for the next Republican debate on November 8. But it’s a major blow for someone who served as Trump’s vice president for four years.

Pence bet his campaign on Iowa and its large Evangelical population. He emphasized his staunch conservative views on issues like abortion. But even in Iowa, he struggled to fundraise and gain support. Pence ends his campaign with just over $1 million cash on hand but $621,000 in debt.

Pence is expected to remain active in conservative politics through his advocacy group Advancing American Freedom. He also has an upcoming book sharing advice on work-life balance.