Former US Vice President Mike Pence has opted to step back from the 2024 presidential race, citing that the timing is not favorable.
He delivered this announcement during a speech at the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas on a Saturday afternoon.
“We always knew this would be an uphill battle, but I have no regrets”, he wrote in a statement.
In a race currently dominated by former President Donald Trump, Mr. Pence has become the first prominent Republican candidate to halt his campaign. Pence’s presidential bid had been lagging behind Trump in the polls.
Furthermore, Mr. Pence’s campaign has accrued substantial debt, with him ending September in the red, owing $621,000 (£512,038) and holding only $1.2 million (£989,446) in his campaign funds, which is notably less than his Republican competitors.
“I am leaving this campaign, but I will never leave the fight for conservative values,” he wrote in a statement addressed to his supporters.
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The 64-year-old faced a significant loss of support from Republican voters when he openly disagreed with Mr. Trump regarding the events of the 6th of January Capitol riot in 2021. Additionally, his role in presiding over the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory in Congress further eroded his standing with many in the Republican base.
Mr. Trump criticized Mr. Pence for what he perceived as a lack of “courage” when Pence declined to challenge the Democratic leader’s election win. During the 2021 storming of Congress, some rioters even chanted “hang Mike Pence,” and since that fateful day, many staunch Trump supporters have viewed him as a betrayer.
The former Vice President said in March that Mr Trump’s encouragement of the rioters had “endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day”.
In his resignation, Mr Pence did not endorse any other Republican candidates for the presidential election.
But he called on Americans to choose a leader that “will ‘appeal to the better angels of our nature’ and not only lead us to victory but also lead our nation with civility and back to those time-honoured principles that have always made America strong, prosperous and free.”