Warning sign: Pence campaign $620,000 in debt before primary voting even starts

 October 18, 2023

The presidential campaign of former Vice President Mike Pence has begun to run up significant debt before primary voting even starts, according to the latest campaign finance filings. 

Although Pence has $1.2 million in cash on hand, his campaign reported debt of $620,000 during the third quarter on Sunday. A portion of what he has raised can only be used for the general election.

He has also put $150,000 of his own money into the race.

Weaker position

The numbers put Pence in a weaker position than other candidates in the race, however.

Former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley finished the third quarter with $9.1 million to spend on primaries, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has $5 million.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) ended the third quarter with $13.3 million, more than either Haley or DeSantis despite being behind them in polls.

Of course, former President Donald Trump matched his frontrunner status in polls with having the most money on hand to campaign--about $36 million.

That's hardly surprising since he is still 30 to 40 points ahead of the rest of the field and has the support of more than half of the GOP.

Looking back

Looking back to 2019, then-candidate Scott Walker was similarly cash-strapped and in debt when he dropped out of the race before the primary.

He retired from the race over $1 million in debt, and it took him over a year to raise the money to clear it.

It's just not looking good for Pence, who has tried to distinguish himself from Trump by criticizing him over January 6. The GOP isn't really having it, though, and mostly still believes Trump didn't do anything wrong on that day--at least not knowingly.

It may not be the wisest move to give Trump the 2024 GOP nomination, but the party seems bound and determined to do it anyway. If only a crystal ball could reveal what will happen to his support if he is convicted of any of the 91 charges currently against him.

The indignation many Republicans feel about how Trump has been treated is driving his success, which is evident in the polls since the indictments began.

DeSantis was at almost 30% in some polls in early 2023, but when the indictments started in April, he began to drop to his current 14% or so.

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