Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Former Vice President Mike Pence dropped his bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination Saturday after struggling to raise money and gain traction during his six-month run.
Pence, the first major candidate to leave the race, told the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas "this is not my time." The decision comes more than two months before the Iowa caucuses and days before the next Republican primary debate on Nov. 8 in Miami.
"After much prayer and deliberation, I have decided to suspend my campaign for president effective today," Pence said. "We always knew this would be an uphill battle, but I have no regrets," he said.
During his address, Pence vowed to "never leave the fight for conservative values" and "never stop fighting to elect principled Republican leaders to every office in the land."
"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," Pence said.
"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."
Shortly after the surprise announcement, former President Donald Trump -- the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination, called on Pence's endorsement.
"He should endorse me," Trump said at a rally in Las Vegas. "I chose him, made him vice president. But people in politics can be very disloyal."