Former US Vice President Mike Pence drops out of presidential race

The former US Vice President ended his bid for presidency after struggling to raise money and gain traction in the polls. Credit: AP

Former US Vice President Mike Pence has dropped his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, ending his campaign for the White House.

Pence becomes the first major candidate to leave a race, after he struggled to raise funds and gain much-needed traction in the polls.

So far the raise has been dominated by his former boss-turned-rival, Donald Trump.

“After much prayer and deliberation, I have decided to suspend my campaign for president effective today," Pence said at the Republican Jewish Coalition gathering in Las Vegas.

“We always knew this would be an uphill battle, but I have no regrets," he said.

The decision, more than two months before the Iowa caucuses that he had staked his campaign on, saves Pence from the embarrassment of failing to qualify for the third Republican primary debate in Miami next month. Throughout his campaign, the former Indiana governor and congressman insisted that while he was well-known by voters, he was not “known well” and set out to change that with an aggressive schedule that included numerous stops at diners and Pizza Ranch restaurants. Pence had been betting on Iowa, a state with a large white Evangelical population that has a long history of elevating religious and socially conservative candidates such as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Rick Santorum.

Pence often campaigned with his wife, Karen, a Christian school teacher, and emphasized his hard-line views on issues such as abortion, which he opposes even in cases when a pregnancy is unviable.

He repeatedly called on his fellow candidates to support a minimum 15-week national ban and he pushed to ban drugs used as alternatives to surgical procedures. He tried to confront head-on his actions on January 6, 2021 , explaining to voters that he had done his constitutional duty that day, knowing full well the political consequences.

It was a strategy that aides believed would help defuse the issue and earn Pence the respect of a majority of Republicans, whom they were were convinced did not agree with Trump’s actions.

But Pence struggled to gain popularity in the polls and had an equal challenge with donors, despite years of connections.

Pence ended September with just $1.18 million in the bank and $621,000 in debt, according to his most recent campaign filing. That debt number probably has grown in the weeks since.

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