Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.
LAS VEGAS ― Former Vice President Mike Pence ended his presidential run Saturday in remarks at the Republican Jewish Coalition annual meeting.
“I came here to say it’s become clear to me, this is not my time,” Pence said in a surprise announcement that drew gasps. “I have no regrets.”
Pence, an evangelical Christian with a long record of supporting Israel, won an extended standing ovation from the audience of 900.
He was facing an increasingly uphill slog merely to stay in the race. His third-quarter Federal Election Commission filing showed that he had just $1.2 million in cash heading into the critical final three months before the start of the primary voting season in January, but that did not include more than $600,000 in debt to direct-mail vendors.
Pence was distrusted by the bloc of GOP voters who are devoted followers of former President Donald Trump following Pence’s refusal to go along with Trump’s Jan. 6, 2021, coup attempt. Pence only gradually began defending his actions that day, and only in the past several months did he start saying that Trump’s actions disqualified him from the presidency.
Pence never rose above single digits in polling and may not have made the stage for the next Republican primary debate in Miami on Nov. 8.
His announcement at the annual meeting came 12 minutes into his allotted 25 minutes.
“I was raised to believe that to whom much is given, much will be required. And with everything our country is facing, I just couldn’t sit this one out. But the Bible tells us there’s a time for every purpose under heaven,” he said. “So after much prayer and deliberation, I have decided to suspend my campaign, effective today.”
HuffPost’s Sara Boboltz contributed to this report.