The campaign declined to provide more details or comment about the unpaid bills. NBC News first reported the campaign’s numbers.
Despite Pence’s name recognition and pitch as a “traditional conservative,” rank-and-file voters have appeared averse to voting for him, a sign that the Republican Party changed direction under his former running mate Donald Trump. Pence’s national polling numbers have him in fifth place, trailing behind Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. Meanwhile, donors have appeared similarly skeptical.
Although campaign reports with the Federal Election Commission are not available for the third quarter yet, other candidates have appeared to rack up in more funds: Trump’s campaign raised $15.3 million last quarter and DeSantis pulled in $20 million in the six weeks after his campaign announcement through the end of the second quarter. In the same quarter, Pence raised less than $1.2 million in the three weeks after his campaign announcement.
In contrast to the Republican contenders, President Biden’s campaign announced raising $71 million in the third quarter, a haul that includes money from his campaign, the Democratic National Committee and three joint fundraising committees.
Last quarter, the Pence campaign had partly attributed the smaller haul to his late announcement in June, with just three weeks remaining in that fundraising quarter. But this quarter’s numbers — representing fundraising in July, August and September — provide the best insight yet into Pence’s money operation thus far, signaling potential problems ahead to finance his 2024 bid.
The critical state of Pence’s bank is reminiscent of that of then-Sen. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) in the third quarter of 2015, when he raised $7.3 million but had more than $161,000 in bills. The spiraling campaign ended weeks later, lasting just 70 days.
The Pence campaign’s money problems became more evident when Pence filed on Thursday for the Nevada state-run primary, rather than the state Republican Party’s caucus that critics say would favor Trump. The decision, which sacrifices his chance to try to win the state’s relatively small number of delegates, saved the campaign from paying the $55,000 filing fee required of the party-run caucus.
When a reporter asked him about his Nevada filing on Friday as he formally signed up for the New Hampshire primary in Concord, Pence said that campaign finance filings would soon show that his campaign would need 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,” Pence said. “But it’s not about money, it’s about votes.”
Asked if he had enough small-dollar donors to meet the threshold of 70,000 required to make the debate stage next month, Pence said, “We’re working on it.”
“I hope to be on that debate stage,” he said. “But we’re going to tell our story; we’re going to work hard.”
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