Republican presidential candidate Tim Scott announced late Sunday that he was dropping out of the 2024 race, about two months before the start of voting in Iowa’s leadoff caucuses.
The South Carolina senator made the surprise announcement on “Sunday Night in America” with Trey Gowdy. The news was so abrupt that one campaign worker told The Associated Press that campaign staff found out Scott was dropping out by watching the show. The worker was not authorized to discuss the internal deliberations publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The news comes as Scott continued to struggle in the polls and just days after the third Republican primary debate. The only Black Republican senator, Scott entered the race in May with more cash than any other Republican candidate but couldn’t find a lane in a field dominated by former President Donald Trump.
“I love America more today than I did on May 22,” Scott said Sunday night. “But when I go back to Iowa, it will not be as a presidential candidate. I am suspending my campaign. I think the voters who are the most remarkable people on the planet have been really clear that they’re telling me, ‘Not now, Tim.'”
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He added: “And so I’m going to respect the voters, and I’m going to hold on and keep working really hard and look forward to another opportunity.”
He said he wouldn’t be making an endorsement of his remaining Republican rivals.
“The voters are really smart,” Scott said. The best way for me to be helpful is to not weigh in on who they should endorse.”
He also indicated that he wasn’t interested in a running mate slot.
“Being vice president has never been on my to-do list for this campaign, and it’s certainly not there now,” Scott said.