Former US Vice President Mike Pence, a prominent figure within the Republican Party, has officially withdrawn from the 2024 presidential race, citing that “this is not my time.” The announcement came during his speech at the Republican Jewish Coalition event in Las Vegas on Saturday afternoon.
Pence’s decision to suspend his campaign is a significant development in the unfolding 2024 presidential race, dominated by former President Donald Trump and several other Republican contenders. In a statement, Pence expressed his gratitude and asserted, “We always knew this would be an uphill battle, but I have no regrets.”
The 64-year-old former vice president had faced challenges in recent polls and had struggled to secure substantial support among Republican voters. Additionally, his campaign had incurred substantial debt, with Pence concluding September with outstanding debts of $621,000 (£512,038) and only $1.2 million (£989,446) remaining in his campaign funds, considerably less than his Republican rivals.
“I am leaving this campaign, but I will never leave the fight for conservative values,” Pence declared in his statement, extending his appreciation to his supporters.
One of the pivotal moments that led to a decline in support for Pence was his public break with former President Trump over the 6 January Capitol riot in 2021. Pence further faced criticism for presiding over the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election results in Congress. Trump publicly criticized Pence for a perceived lack of “courage” in refusing to overturn Biden’s election win.
The events of January 6, 2021, also led to disturbing chants of “hang Mike Pence” among rioters who stormed the halls of Congress. Since then, many loyalists of Trump have viewed Pence with distrust and as a traitor.
In March, Pence stated that Trump’s encouragement of the rioters had “endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day.” These divisions within the party played a substantial role in his decision to withdraw from the race.
In his resignation announcement, Pence refrained from endorsing any other Republican candidates for the 2024 presidential election. However, he called upon Americans to choose a leader who “will ‘appeal to the better angels of our nature’ and not only lead us to victory but also lead our nation with civility and back to those time-honored principles that have always made America strong, prosperous, and free.”
Mike Pence’s decision to exit the Republican presidential campaign unfolded just ahead of the third presidential debate scheduled for November 8, 2023. This decision adds a new dimension to the ongoing race for the 2024 Republican nomination, where Donald Trump continues to be a dominant force.