(CTN News) – Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina revealed Sunday night that he is jumping out of the 2024 Republican presidential campaign, startling a TV interviewer and even his own campaign team with an abrupt departure from the race.
I won’t be campaigning for president in Iowa if I ever return. Tim Scott announced his decision to terminate his campaign on the Fox News show of former Republican congressman Trey Gowdy.
“I think the voters, who are the most remarkable people on the planet, have been really clear that they’re telling me: not now,” said Tim Scott.
The announcement caught everyone off guard, including Scott’s old House colleague, Gowdy, who looked to perform a double take as he declared. Multiple Scott aides told NBC News they were caught off guard by the candidate’s announcement that he was terminating the campaign.
A fundraising email was sent out by Tim Scott’s campaign just before he dropped out of the contest. Please consider this your FINAL CALL to donate to Tim’s weekend campaign. A member of Tim’s campaign team emailed asking for donations.
His choice follows efforts to unite the Republican Party’s opposition to former President Donald Trump, who is now leading in most primary surveys and has already secured the state of Iowa as the site of the first presidential caucuses.
In a poll conducted by NBC News, the Des Moines Register, and Mediacom in October, Scott received 7% of the vote, putting him in fourth place.
Tim Scott’s withdrawal comes just days after the third Republican presidential debate, which he skipped due to the flu.
Scott began his 2024 campaign with less name recognition than many of his rivals. AdImpact, which tracks political advertising, estimates that his campaign and an affiliated super PAC spent over $25 million on commercials in Iowa and other early states to promote him as an optimistic conservative. Early state polls showed an increase for Scott somewhere in the summer.
A source close to the campaign said funding had been short in the days preceding Sunday’s withdrawal. The GOP debates were a lost opportunity for Scott. And as his in-state opponent gained popularity, his poll ratings remained flat.
He is pulling out of the campaign just as former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has pulled into second place in early-state primary polls.
In 2012, Haley appointed Scott to the Senate and later lauded him on X. To many, Tim Scott is an example of what it means to be a man of faith. His presence improved the quality of the Republican primary. That South Carolina can keep him as our senator is a blessing,” she said.
After canceling millions of dollars in fall advertising the previous month, Scott’s super PAC said that the Republican electorate wasn’t “focused or ready for a Trump alternative.”
A Scott campaign aide said, “There comes a point when it’s clear that there isn’t going to be a breakthrough moment, and one was really needed given where he stood in the field.”
Staff member: “they never translated into support, and that’s just the reality of what it takes to win — and if you don’t have a path, it’s time to help consolidate to beat Trump.” Scott’s message and personal favorability of the staff member complimented statistics.
Tim Scott’s supporters will have to search elsewhere, but he didn’t sound eager in his interview with Gowdy to throw his support behind one of his former opponents.
“I’m going to recommend that the voters study each candidate and their candidatures and, frankly, their past and make a decision for the future of the country,” added the president. “The best way for me to be helpful is to not weigh in on who they should endorse.”
And it didn’t appear that Scott was interested in running for vice president later in the race. “Vice president has never been on my to-do list for this campaign, and it’s certainly not there now,” he explained to Gowdy.
Scott is abandoning the campaign after another well-known candidate dropped out. As the Republican presidential field narrows, former Vice President Mike Pence announced his campaign’s suspension at the end of October.
Several of Tim Scott’s previous 2024 competitors reacted to the news on social media.
Tim Scott is a staunch conservative with some big ideas for setting America on the right path again. I admire his guts for running for office and am grateful for his time spent representing Americans in Congress. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wrote on X, “I look forward to Tim continuing to be a leader in our party for years to come.”
After calling Scott a “good dude” and referencing their exchange during last week’s Republican debate, in which Ramaswamy poked fun at Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy commended Scott.