Former Vice President Mike Pence declared the cessation of his presidential run while addressing the attendees at the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) conference.
Speaking to a stunned audience at Las Vegas' prestigious Venetian resort on Thursday, Pence said:
The Bible tells us that there’s a time for every purpose under heaven. Traveling across the country over the past six months, I came here to say it’s become clear to me that this is not my time. So after much prayer and deliberation, I have decided to suspend my campaign for president effective today.
The revelation, met with audible reactions from the audience, elicited a standing ovation, with a lone voice from the crowd exclaiming, "Thank you, Mike!" Pence was then joined on stage by his wife, Karen.
Reflecting on his journey, Pence stated, "We thank God for his amazing grace. He gave us the courage to step forward so many years ago. And the wisdom to step aside."
“My fellow Republicans, thank you for your kindness, your support and your prayers over the many years. As we go home to Indiana, let me assure you that we leave here with optimism and faith. We don’t know what the future holds. But we know who holds the future, and with faith in him and boundless confidence in all of you, we know the best days for America and our most cherished ally, Israel, are yet to come,” Politico reported.
The decision caught many off guard, as Pence's scheduled remarks didn’t hint at any such revelation. Notably, RJC representatives were equally taken aback by the announcement. Major GOP donor, Fred Zeidman, attending the event, termed it a "total shock," while also commending Pence for his approach.
Pence's campaign, rooted in religious conservatism and a distinct divergence from Donald Trump after the events of January 6, had not seen substantial progress in fundraising or polling.
Recent Federal Election Commission filings highlighted a modest campaign fund of $1.2 million. Furthermore, even though Pence met the polling requirements for the upcoming November 8 Miami debate, he had not reached the required number of individual donors by the approaching deadline.
This announcement unfolded in the midst of the conference attended by all prominent candidates, including Trump. While Ron DeSantis, who spoke post-Pence, refrained from discussing the revelation on stage, he acknowledged it subsequently.