Mike Pence suspends his 2024 campaign for president

Mr Pence has had an uphill battle to attract GOP voters as he repeatedly criticised his former boss and 2024 frontrunner Donald Trump

Kelly Rissman
Saturday 28 October 2023 20:16 BST
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‘This is not my time’: Mike Pence withdraws from 2024 presidential race

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

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Former Vice President Mike Pence announced on Saturday that he is suspending his 2024 presidential campaign.

Mr Pence made the announcement with a heavy heart while speaking at the Republican Jewish Conference in Las Vegas: “I just couldn’t sit this one out.”

“But the Bible tells us there is a time for every purpose under heaven,” he said, adding that after traveling across the country for months, “It has come clear to me that this is not my time.” He said the suspension went into effect Saturday.

Mr Pence, who previously served as Donald Trump’s vice president, has been critical of his former boss ever since the events of January 6 transpired. His campaign suspension announcement seemed to also take a dig at the former president.

“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. So help me God,” Mr Pence said.

The former veep has often positioned himself as a traditional conservative in the 2024 race. As a born-again Christian, Mr Pence has long made clear that he was anti-abortion and frequently attempted to pass legislation to defund Planned Parenthood.

During his campaign’s run, he made numerous controversial headlines, including when a mother of a transgender child confronted him about his anti-LGBTQ+ stances.

Hints of his campaign’s lack of success has been evident for some time. Mr Trump has a sizeable lead in the crowded GOP field, and Mr Pence has barely been able to attract more than 10 per cent in the polls. On Saturday, he was polling at 3.8 per cent, according to FiveThirtyEight’s polling averages.

One strategist told The Independent that he believed Mr Pence’s campaign more closely resembled a campaign from the 2008 or 2012 elections rather than a campaign in 2024.

He has also been called a “traitor” at a number of his own campaign events, referring to his decision to certify the 2020 election results for Joe Biden rather than listening to Mr Trump’s requests, perhaps signalling a preference for Mr Trump over him.

Even with Mr Pence out of the race, the Republican field is crammed with contenders: former President Trump, Florida Gov Ron DeSantis, former New Jersey Gov Chris Christie, former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, Sen Tim Scott, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former Arkansas Gov Asa Hutchinson, and North Dakota Gov Doug Burgum.

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