Pence Abandons Campaign

Former vice president asks Republicans to choose a principled presidential nominee
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2023 2:48 PM CDT
Pence Gives Up on 2024
Karen Pence, left, and former Vice President Mike Pence walk offstage at a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition on Saturday in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/John Locher)

This was not the stump speech the audience assembled at the Venetian resort on the Las Vegas strip on Saturday was expecting. But Mike Pence told the Republican Jewish Coalition conference that he's suspending his 2024 presidential campaign, Politico reports. "Traveling across the country over the past six months, I came here to say it's become clear to me that it's not my time," Pence said. The crowd, largely consisting of major GOP donors, gave the former vice president a standing ovation, and one attendee hollered, "Thank you, Mike!"

Pence's campaign struggled to win over donors and voters. He was running around fifth place in national polls, lower in Iowa and New Hampshire. Many Republicans remain unhappy with Pence for not yielding to then-President Donald Trump's insistence that he overturn the 2020 election results, per the Washington Post, which Pence lacked the constitutional power to do. He and Trump have argued the issue since. Trump remains the front-runner for the GOP nomination. On Saturday, Pence called on Republicans to choose a candidate who will "appeal to the better angels of our nature, and not only lead us to victory, but lead our nation with civility back to the time-honored principles that have always made America strong and prosperous and free."

Trump and the other leading GOP candidates are in Las Vegas for the event. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke right after Pence and did not mention his withdrawal, though he tweeted later that his former opponent "worked tirelessly to advance the conservative cause," per NBC News. Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley prefaced her speech with Pence comments. "He has fought for America, and he has fought for Israel, and we all owe him a debt of gratitude," she said. Pence asked his wife, Karen, to join him onstage at the end of his speech. "We always knew this would be an uphill battle," Pence told the conference, "but I have no regrets." (More Republican presidential primaries stories.)

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