Former Vice President Mike Pence announced an end to his 2024 Presidential campaign on Saturday.
Pence has reportedly struggled in the polls and with funding – in part due to his refusal to overturn the results of the 2020 election, which some Trump supporters believed he had the power to do. His most recent campaign filing at the end of September showed $1.18 million raised and $621,000 in debt, which has only increased and could take years to pay off.
Despite trying to grow a base among Evangelicals by doubling down on anti-abortion rhetoric, Pence has struggled to find the supporters he needs in a Trump-dominated Republican Party – viewed as a traitor by Trump’s supporters and an enabling lieutenant by the former president’s critics. An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research also found in August that 57% of surveyed U.S. adults viewed Pence negatively, with just 28% viewing the former Indinian governor positively.
Pence chose the Republican Jewish Coalition’s gathering in Las Vegas as the site of his announcement.
“It’s become clear to me: This is not my time,” he said to a surprised audience. “We always knew this would be an uphill battle, but I have no regrets.”
He called for the Republican Party to put forward a “standard bearer” who could lead with civility, harkening back to Lincoln.
Pence is the first major candidate in the Republican primary to drop out. He did not endorse any of the remaining candidates, though many of them wished him well. Trump, who spoke shortly after at the same event, did not acknowledge the former vice president’s announcement.
Outside the campaign, Pence will likely remain in national news, as he may be called as a witness in Trump’s trial on charges of attempting to subvert the 2020 election. He already testified before a federal grand jury in April regarding his conversations with Trump leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection. He will also remain involved in politics through his conservative think tank Advancing American Freedom.