By Jack Phillips
Former Vice President Mike Pence’s campaign reported a debt of more than $600,000, according to a recent federal filing, coming as his campaign has failed to gain traction in the 2024 presidential race.
A filing submitted to the Federal Election Commission shows that for the third quarter period, Mr. Pence reported $621,000 in debt, $1.1 million cash on hand, and raising about $3.3 million in the third quarter. The former vice president also appeared to contribute $150,000 of his own money to his 2024 campaign.
While he was in New Hampshire, Mr. Pence was asked about his finances. Without elaborating, the former vice president said that he will have to be “more selective in where we invest resources.”
“It may be obvious in the days ahead that other campaigns have more money than ours,” Mr. Pence told the Washington Post. “But it’s not about money, it’s about votes.”
The frontrunner for the GOP nomination, former President Donald Trump, will report having $36 million available on hand, his campaign aides told CNN and other news outlets. Another GOP candidate, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, raised more than $7.4 million in the third quarter, a spokesperson for his campaign told CNN.
Other 2024 Republican candidates such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) raised far more and had more cash on hand. Reports indicated that Mr. DeSantis has $5 million cash on hand, Mrs. Haley has $9.1 million, and Mr. Scott has $13 million.
Mr. Pence, meanwhile, told reporters Monday that he is still working on getting enough small-dollar donors to enter the third Republican debate, which is being hosted by NBC in November. Would-be participants have to reach 4 percent in several polls and collect donations from at least 70,000 individual donors.
According to a recent aggregate of polls from RealClearPolitics, President Trump is still dominating the field, with 58.3 percent of the vote. Mr. DeSantis has 12.9 percent, Mrs. Haley has 7.6 percent, Mr. Ramaswamy has 6.2, and Mr. Pence has 3.7 percent.
A recent poll from Morning Consult painted a more lopsided picture. It revealed the former president garnered 61 percent of primary support, while Mr. DeSantis got 12 percent. The other candidates failed to reach 10 percent each, although Mr. Ramaswamy had 9 percent.
Despite the poll numbers and lack of campaign cash, Mr. Pence appeared to be hopeful.
“I hope you can pick it up in my voice: I’m very excited about the future. I’m very optimistic about the future,” he told Politico on Monday. “Because I have faith.”
The former president did not attend the first two debates, which were hosted by Fox News, citing his high poll figures. His campaign has called for all GOP debates to be canceled and for the Republican National Committee to focus its energy on defeating Democrats and President Joe Biden in 2024.
“The RNC should immediately put an end to any further primary debates so we can train our fire on Crooked Joe Biden and quit wasting time and money that could be going to evicting Biden from the White House,” Trump spokesman Chris LaCivita said last month.
The second debate, the spokesman added, was “as boring and inconsequential as the first debate,” and he asserted that “nothing that was said will change the dynamics of the primary contest being dominated by President Trump.”
It appears that the Israel–Hamas conflict will be central to the third debate, as the RNC on Monday announced a partnership with the Jewish Republican organization. The Republican Jewish Coalition will be one of the RNC’s several partners, it said.
“As the horrific events of the last week have unfolded in Israel, the issue of American foreign policy has taken on an even greater role. American strength and American resolve, and our candidates’s vision for America’s role in the world, are more important than ever,” said the group’s chairman, former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman.
The “third debate will offer our candidates an excellent opportunity to meet the moment and contrast their plans and vision with the failures of the Biden White House,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement Monday.
Eight candidates made it to the first debate on Aug. 23: Mr. DeSantis, Mr. Ramaswamy, Mrs. Haley, Mr. Scott, Mr. Pence, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. For the second debate, held on Sept. 27, Mr. Hutchinson failed to qualify.
The slate of candidates who qualify for the third debate has not been disclosed by NBC or the RNC. NBC also has not named the moderators.
The first Republican presidential caucuses—the Iowa Caucuses—will be held on Jan. 15.