Former Vice President Mike Pence has announced that he is suspending his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. Pence made his decision known during a speech at the Republican Jewish Coalition gathering in Las Vegas. Although acknowledging that it would be an uphill battle from the start, Pence expressed no regrets about his campaign.
Pence’s departure from the race is significant as he is the first major candidate to withdraw, with the spotlight primarily focused on his former boss-turned-rival, Donald Trump. By exiting the race now, Pence avoids the potential embarrassment of not qualifying for the third Republican primary debate, which is scheduled for November 8th in Miami.
Critics of Trump also see Pence as an enabler who consistently defended the former president, even in the face of his most controversial actions. This perception has further added to the challenges Pence has faced during his campaign.
Despite these obstacles, Pence’s withdrawal marks an important moment in the Republican presidential race. His departure leaves room for other candidates to gain traction and sets the stage for an increasingly competitive primary season.
A Challenging Campaign for Former Vice President Pence
According to a survey conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research in August, the majority of U.S. adults, accounting for 57%, held a negative view of former Vice President Pence, while only 28% viewed him positively.
Throughout his campaign, Pence acknowledged that although voters were familiar with him, they did not truly know him. He made it his mission to change that perception and embarked on an aggressive schedule that involved frequent stops at various diners and Pizza Ranch restaurants.
Pence placed his bets on Iowa, a state known for its significant white Evangelical population and its consistent support for religious and socially conservative candidates like former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
During his campaign, Pence often appeared alongside his wife, Karen, who is a Christian school teacher. He emphasized his strong opposition to issues like abortion, taking a firm stance against it even in cases where the pregnancy is unviable. He consistently advocated for a nationwide ban on abortions beyond 15 weeks and also sought to prohibit alternative drugs used as substitutes for surgical procedures.
To address the events of January 6, 2021, Pence made a concerted effort to explain to voters that he had fulfilled his constitutional duties on that day, fully aware of the potential political consequences. His strategy aimed to defuse the issue and earn the respect of a majority of Republicans who, according to his aides, did not agree with former President Trump’s actions.
Despite his efforts, Pence encountered challenges in gaining momentum, even within the state of Iowa.