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Mike Pence Sought Public Funds as 2024 Presidential Bid Collapsed

Former Vice President Mike Pence sought public financing for his failed presidential primary campaign, a highly unusual move that if successful would make him the first Republican in more than a decade to receive such funds, according to Federal Election Commission documents that have not previously been disclosed.

Starting in the post-Watergate era, the federal government has allowed presidential candidates to apply for and receive public dollars. But the program has become all but obsolete as it imposes strict spending limits on anyone who participates, at a time when the cost of nationwide campaigning has skyrocketed.

Even applying for the money is generally seen as a sign of desperation because the limits of the program are so onerous.

Mr. Pence, who served as former President Donald J. Trump’s running mate in 2016 and 2020 before challenging him last year, struggled for traction in the 2024 Republican race from the very start.

Campaigning as an avatar of the G.O.P.’s old guard and warning that Mr. Trump’s populism was the “road to ruin,” Mr. Pence raised around $5.3 million last year, never found significant support in public polls and dropped out in late October when faced with the possibility of not qualifying for another debate.

Mr. Pence’s campaign committee had more than $1.3 million in unpaid debts as of the end of March, federal records show. Qualifying for public funds now would presumably help him pay down those bills.

Read more on nytimes.com