Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has officially ended his financially struggling presidential campaign, making the announcement during a surprise address at the Republican Jewish Coalition donor conference in Las Vegas.
Pence, who had been grappling with the challenge of convincing Republican voters that he was a viable alternative to his former ally, Donald Trump, became the first prominent candidate to withdraw from the race. Trump remains the undisputed frontrunner.
In his speech, Pence refrained from endorsing any specific candidate but appeared to make veiled references to Trump, emphasizing the need for a Republican standard-bearer who would appeal to the better nature of the party and lead with civility.
Trump, in response, encouraged Pence to endorse him, highlighting their shared history. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, another significant candidate, and Trump did not mention Pence in their speeches at the donor conference.
However, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who served as Trump’s ambassador to the U.N., praised Pence as a defender of America and Israel.
The withdrawal of Pence may set a precedent for more candidates to exit the crowded field, with donors seeking alternatives to Trump reluctant to commit financial support.
Trump’s substantial lead in the race diminishes the significance of these departures. Additionally, there is no prominent alternative to Trump, as DeSantis’ campaign has faced difficulties since its lackluster start.