Former Vice President Mike Pence made a startling announcement on Saturday, revealing that he was ending his presidential bid. This decision came after a six-month journey across the U.S., which Pence revealed during his speech at the Annual Leadership Summit of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas.
He began his statement by reflecting on his initial announcement last June when he declared his intention to seek the Republican presidential nomination. At the time, he believed the country was facing profound challenges. However, as he traveled extensively over the past half-year, he reached a different conclusion. Standing on the stage, he said, “It’s become clear to me: this is not my time.”
Mr. Pence announced the suspension of his presidential campaign, effective immediately. Despite this decision, he assured his audience that he remained committed to the cause of conservative values and would persist in supporting principled Republican leaders in various capacities.
This announcement follows disappointing poll results for Pence. He is the first major candidate to withdraw from a race primarily dominated by his former boss and rival, Donald Trump. According to a survey carried out by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research in August, 57 percent of U.S. adults have a negative opinion of Vice President Pence, and 28 percent have a positive one.
One positive outcome of this decision was that it saved Pence from the potential embarrassment of not qualifying for the third Republican primary debate, scheduled for November 8 in Miami. His campaign’s financial status was also precarious, with the latest campaign filing revealing that he had just $1.18 million in his campaign account and a substantial debt of $621,000 as of the end of September. Given his limited personal wealth, it appeared that it would take Pence a considerable amount of time to settle this debt.
Several prominent Republican figures, including presidential candidate Tim Scott, expressed their support for Pence after hearing the news. Scott characterized him as a prayer partner, friend, and a man of integrity whose leadership had strengthened the Republican Party.
One of the key turning points in Pence’s political journey was his handling of the 2020 election results. This became a pivotal moment in his relationship with President Donald Trump and significantly impacted his image among certain segments of Republican voters, especially those who remained loyal to Trump. Pence’s refusal to reject the 2020 election results, citing his limited constitutional authority to do so, clashed with Trump’s belief that Pence possessed the power to overturn the election outcome and keep them both in office. Consequently, Pence’s popularity waned among Trump’s supporters, with some continuing to view him as a traitor.
Throughout his campaign, Pence had placed significant emphasis on the state of Iowa, which boasts a substantial white Evangelical population and a history of supporting religious and socially conservative candidates. He often campaigned alongside his wife, Karen, a Christian school teacher, and staunchly advocated for his hard-line positions on issues such as abortion, even in cases of non-viability. Pence consistently called for a nationwide minimum 15-week abortion ban and advocated for the prohibition of drugs used as alternatives to surgical procedures.
Despite these efforts, Pence struggled to gain traction even in Iowa, ultimately leading to his decision to suspend his presidential campaign.