Mike Pence suspends 2024 presidential campaign

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Mike Pence has dropped out of the race for the 2024 US presidential election as the former vice-president struggled to mobilise support and boost flagging poll numbers. 

In a surprise announcement during a speech at a Republican Jewish Coalition event on Saturday, Pence said he had decided to suspend his campaign “effective today”. 

“In travelling across the country over the past six months, I came here to say it’s become clear to me, this is not my time,” he said. 

Pence said he had decided to run for president “because I believe this country is in a lot of trouble”. He added: “we always knew this would be an uphill battle, but I have no regrets.” 

The former vice-president’s run failed to take off this year, with Fivethirtyeight’s recent average of national polls showing him with just 3.8 per cent support in the Republican primary race.

According to the Federal Election Commission, Pence’s campaign raised less than $5mn between July and September, putting him near the bottom of the list of contenders. 

Pence’s withdrawal could mark the start of a winnowing out of contenders, with several candidates still polling in single digits behind Donald Trump, the clear frontrunner with more than 50 per cent support, and Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor in second place on 14 per cent.

Art Pope, a major Pence donor, told the Financial Times on Saturday that the former vice-president’s decision would help consolidate the field into a single Republican challenger to Trump.

“I’m disappointed that he withdrew because I thought he had the best qualifications based on his values, his experience, and his position on the issues to be the Republican nominee”, Pope said.

“But given that there was not a likely path to win the nomination, then the presidency, I thought it probably was best for him to withdraw now rather than later.”

Pope added: “I do think as the field narrows down there will be a single contender, who in the head-to-head match-up with Donald Trump will get the majority of delegates for the Republican nomination.”

Trump and Pence split dramatically after the former vice-president refused to acquiesce in Trump’s demands that he block the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral college victory. Trump supporters targeted Pence for that decision during the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Pence and Trump have also clashed throughout their presidential campaigns, as the ex-president faced four separate sets of criminal charges, including two indictments accusing him of seeking to overturn the 2020 election. Trump has pleaded not guilty in all cases, which he has called politically motivated.

The vice-president has said that Trump asked him to “put him over the Constitution” following the 2020 election and that “anyone who puts himself over the Constitution should never be president of the United States”.

Trump earlier this year said Pence was “delusional” and had gone “to the Dark Side”.

Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor who is also running in the Republican primary, said on X, formerly Twitter, that Pence “deserves our thanks . . . for putting his oath of office and the Constitution of the United States before personal and political pressure”.

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