Former VP Pence suspends campaign, drops out of race for 2024 GOP nomination

October 29, 2023

The field of Republican candidates seeking the 2024 GOP presidential nomination became a little bit smaller on Saturday as one of the more well-known contenders formally exited the race.

Former Vice President Mike Pence informed the crowd at an event in Las Vegas, Nevada that he had decided to suspend his campaign for the presidency, according to The Guardian.

The unexpected announcement initially brought gasps and murmurs from the surprised audience that quickly transformed into resounding applause and cheers for the staunchly Christian conservative former VP who also previously served as a U.S. congressman and as the governor of his home state of Indiana.

"This is not my time"

Speaking as one of several candidates who appeared at the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas on Saturday, former VP Pence said, "The Bible tells us that there is a time for every purpose under Heaven. Traveling across the country over the past six months, I came here to say it has become clear to me -- this is not my time."

"So after much prayer and deliberation, I have decided to suspend my campaign for president, effective today," he continued. "Now, I’m leaving this campaign, but let me promise you, I will never leave the fight for conservative values and I will never stop fighting to elect principled Republican leaders to every office in the land, so help me God."

Following an extended round of sustained applause and cheers, Pence said, "We always knew this would be an uphill battle, but I have no regrets. The only thing that would have been harder than coming up short would have been if we'd never tried at all."

"Now to the American people, I say this is not my time, but it's still your time," he added. "I urge you to hold fast to what matters most -- faith, family, and the Constitution of the United States of America."

Struggled to raise funds and garner public support

CBS News reported the former VP Pence's campaign was a struggle from the start that failed to ever really gain any traction among the Republican electorate, a majority of whom remain solidly committed to supporting Pence's former partner turned bitter rival -- former President Donald Trump.

And while Pence didn't cite any specific reasons for why he seemed to have abruptly decided to end his presidential campaign, one likely significant factor in his calculus was the fact that he most likely would fail to qualify to participate in the third GOP primary debate scheduled for Nov. 8 in Miami, Florida.

In federal filings earlier this month, the Pence campaign revealed that it had only raised around $3.3 million in the third quarter, only had about $1.2 million in cash on hand, and was weighed down with approximately $620,000 in debt, despite his having loaned roughly $150,000 of his own wealth to the campaign's coffers.

Meanwhile, as funding for his campaign dried up, Pence also struggled to garner support in the polls, with the RealClearPolitics average of national GOP primary polls showing the former VP mired in a distant fifth place with just 3.5% support -- far behind his former boss Trump who is the clear frontrunner for the Republican nomination with 59.1% support among voters.

Parting shot against Trump

The Guardian noted that Pence did not explicitly endorse any of the other candidates still vying for the presidency but did appear to take a thinly veiled swipe at Trump in encouraging voters to pick the best nominee from the remaining available options.

"So I urge all of my fellow Republicans here -- give our country a Republican standard-bearer that will, as Lincoln said, appeal to the better angels of our nature," Pence said, " and not only lead us to victory but lead our nation with civility back to the time-honored principles that have always made America strong and prosperous and free."

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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