Former Vice President Mike Pence has dropped out of the 2024 presidential race. He announced on Saturday at the Republican Jewish Coalition Leadership Summit in Las Vegas, where he received a standing ovation from the audience.
In his speech, Pence acknowledged that this was not his time, but urged the American people to hold fast to what matters most: faith, family, and the Constitution of the United States of America. Jacob Rosen, a CBS News campaign reporter who was present at the event, described the crowd's response as surprising. He noted audible gasps when Pence announced his decision to drop out.
The first half of Pence's speech focused on Israel and maintaining U.S. support for the country. However, halfway through, he pivoted and acknowledged that his presidential campaign was over. He stated that he would now focus on supporting other presidential candidates moving forward. Pence's campaign had failed to gain traction since its announcement, which explains the audience's reaction.
The timing of his decision is also interesting. Pence would have had to file to run in the South Carolina primary in a few days, with a filing fee of $50,000. He had not announced whether he qualified for the next debate in November with the other GOP candidates.
These factors likely influenced his decision, along with his struggling campaign and fundraising numbers. In an email to his supporters, Pence urged them to give the country a Republican standard-bearer who would appeal to its better angels and lead with civility.
This can be interpreted as a subtle criticism of his former boss, Donald Trump. Pence distanced himself from Trump after the attack on the Capitol on January 6th, and Trump has repeatedly attacked him since then.
This has affected Pence's standing with voters, as he has only been polling in the low digits. It is clear that Trump still holds a strong grip on the Republican Party, and Pence has been unable to recover and gain the support of the GOP voting majority. As for who benefits the most from Pence dropping out, it remains to be seen.
Pence had been targeting evangelical voters throughout his campaign, spending time in states like Iowa and New Hampshire. With Pence out of the race, other non-Trump options like Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis may see a surge in support. However, the evangelical voting block that had been in Pence's corner has been dwindling. It is only a small percentage, and Pence has only been polling in low single digits.
I am here with many friends to show my unwavering support for Israel. However, I would like to end on a personal note. Last June, I announced my intention to run for the Republican nomination for President of the United States. I believe our country is facing significant challenges, and I couldn't just sit back and do nothing.
I was raised with the belief that those who have been given much also have a responsibility to give back. After traveling across the country for the past six months, it has become clear to me that this is not my time. After much prayer and consideration, I have decided to suspend my campaign for president, effective today.
Although I am leaving this campaign, I want to assure you that I will never stop fighting for conservative values and working to elect principled Republican leaders. I want to express my gratitude to my family, including my wife Cara, whose faith, strength, and love have supported us throughout our years of service.
I couldn't have done it without them. Let's show our appreciation for Karen, the former Second Lady of the United States. Lastly, I want to thank God for his amazing grace, which gave us the courage to step forward all those years ago and the wisdom to step aside now. To my fellow Republicans, thank you for your kindness, support, and prayers over the years. As we return home to Indiana, I want to assure you that we leave here with optimism and faith. We may not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.
With faith in Him and confidence in all of you, we believe that the best days for America and our cherished ally Israel are still to come.