Former Vice President Mike Pence announced on Oct. 28 that he has ended his bid for the White House.
He came to the conclusion after traveling across the country over the past six months, Mr. Pence said at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s Annual Leadership Summit in Las Vegas.
“Last June, I announced my intention to seek the Republican nomination for president of the United States because I believe this country is in a lot of trouble,” he said on the stage. “[After] 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. 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.”
Mr. Pence’s announcement came after disappointing poll results, and it makes him the first major candidate to leave a race that has been dominated by his running mate-turned-rival, former President Donald Trump.
An Associated Press–NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll from August found that most U.S. adults, 57 percent, viewed Mr. Pence negatively, with only 28 percent having a positive view.
The decision, more than two months before the Iowa caucuses that he had staked his campaign on, saves Mr. Pence from the embarrassment of failing to qualify for the third Republican primary debate, which takes place on Nov. 8 in Miami.
The latest campaign filing shows that Mr. Pence had $1.18 million in the bank and $621,000 in debt at the end of September.
“The Vice President has been a prayer partner, a friend, and a man of integrity and deep conviction. The Republican Party is stronger today because of Mike’s leadership. I have no doubt Mike and Karen will continue to serve this nation and honor the Lord in all they do,” Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), one of the Republican presidential candidates, said in a statement.
2020 ElectionMr. Pence’s handling of the 2020 election results affected his relationship with President Trump and his image among some Republican voters, especially among Trump supporters.
President Trump was convinced that Mr. Pence had the power to overturn the results of the 2020 election and keep both of them in office. However, Mr. Pence refused to reject the 2020 election results, insisting that he didn’t have the constitutional right to do so. Mr. Pence lost popularity among Trump supporters, some of whom still see Mr. Pence as a traitor.
Mr. Pence had been betting on Iowa, a state with a large Evangelical population that has a long history of elevating religious and socially conservative candidates such as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.). Mr. Pence often campaigned with his wife, Karen, a Christian school teacher, and emphasized his hard-line views on issues such as abortion, which he opposes even in cases in which a pregnancy isn’t viable. He repeatedly called on his fellow candidates to support a minimum 15-week national abortion ban, and he pushed to ban drugs used as alternatives to surgical abortion procedures.
But even in Iowa, Mr. Pence struggled to gain traction.