Former US Vice President Mike Pence has ended his 2024 presidential campaign, announcing his withdrawal in a speech at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual summit in Las Vegas. Pence, who represented the Republican Party’s establishment wing, failed to win over skeptical conservative voters with his full-throated support for Ukraine.
In his speech, Pence stated, “Traveling across the country over the past six months, it’s 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.” This decision comes after Pence distanced himself from his former boss, Donald Trump, in the aftermath of the January 6, 2021, riot on Capitol Hill. Pence transformed himself from a loyal ally of Trump to one of his most vocal detractors.
Pence’s campaign, launched in June, aimed to return the Republican Party to a “commonsense conservative agenda.” This agenda included slashing spending at home and increasing funding for the conflict in Ukraine. However, this neoconservative stance alienated Republican voters, leading to criticism from within the party. Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson publicly criticized Pence at a conservative conference in July. Carlson questioned the Vice President’s concern for Ukraine, stating, “You’re distressed that the Ukrainians don’t have enough American tanks? Our economy has degraded, the suicide rate has jumped, public filth and disorder and crime have exponentially increased.”
While Pence’s campaign struggled to gain support, Trump’s position on cutting off military aid to Ukraine and prioritizing negotiations with Russia remains popular among Republican voters. Recent polling compiled by FiveThirtyEight showed 57% of Republican voters backing Trump for the party’s nomination, while only 3.8% supported Pence.
Pence’s campaign faced numerous challenges, including a lack of support and limited funding. Despite a series of public appearances that failed to draw large crowds, Politico described the campaign as “sad” and “dwindling.” According to campaign filings, Pence had only $1.18 million in funding remaining and $621,000 in debt.
Following his withdrawal, Pence expressed his commitment to remaining active in politics and continuing to fight for principled Republican leaders. He stated, “I will never stop fighting to elect principled Republican leaders to every office in the land.”
While Pence’s decision to withdraw from the presidential race came as a surprise to some, it reflects the challenges he faced in gaining support from conservative voters. With his campaign suspended, the focus now shifts to other potential Republican candidates as the party prepares for the 2024 presidential election.