Sen. Tim Scott suspended his campaign for president Sunday evening.
Scott, a South Carolina Republican reelected last year to his second full term in the Senate, had qualified for the Republican presidential debates to date, but his candidacy never took off with voters.
“When I go back to Iowa, it will not be as a presidential candidate,” he said in a Fox News Channel interview. “I think the voters, who are the most remarkable people on the planet, have been really clear that they’re telling me: not now.”
Scott, 58, had recently pledged to focus his campaign on Iowa through the January caucuses.
Scott’s announcement came in an interview with former South Carolina GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy, who hosts a Sunday night program. Former President Donald Trump has been well ahead in the Republican primary field despite not participating in debates, and Scott has generally trailed fellow South Carolinan Nikki Haley, a former governor and ambassador to the United Nations.
The polling average compiled by FiveThirtyEight.com had Scott at running sixth in the GOP field nationally on Sunday, with 2.2 percent compared with Haley’s 8.7 percent and Trump’s 56.6 percent. The polling average in Iowa, where Scott was counting on a more conservative Christian electorate, showed him in fourth, with 7.3 percent.
The Scott campaign had sent a fundraising email about “One last chance” within the hour of what appeared to be a surprise announcement from the candidate.
“Tim is the most conservative candidate in the race for president, and we seriously need his strong leadership and optimistic, positive vision to lead our country forward,” the message said.
Scott, the ranking member on the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, formally jumped into the presidential contest back in May. With his exit from the contest, there are no members of Congress from either chamber in the Republican primary field. Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., has launched a long-shot challenge to President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination.