Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina announced Sunday that he is withdrawing from the 2024 presidential race.
The unexpected decision, made just two months before the Iowa caucuses, was announced on Fox News’ “Sunday Night In America with Trey Gowdy.” The former presidential candidate’s departure from the race follows the abrupt cancellation of all his campaign stops in Iowa this weekend after he caught the flu.
“I’m looking forward to getting back on the campaign trail without a doubt. But when I go back to Iowa, it won’t be as a presidential candidate. I’m suspending my campaign,” Scott told Fox News on Sunday.
Moments before Scott made his announcement, his campaign shared a fundraising email, asking voters to “contribute this weekend and support Tim in reaching his campaign goal.”
“I think the voters, who are the most remarkable people on the planet, have been very clear. They’re telling me that’s not the case now, Tim,” Scott told Gowdy.
Scott said he currently has no plans to support any other candidate. Asked about running for vice president, the candidate stated firmly, “I ran for president. Being vice president was never on my to-do list for this campaign.”
Sources close to the campaign revealed that the announcement came as a surprise to many of Scott’s staffers.
He made the announcement live on Fox News, then immediately made a surprise phone call to his campaign team to inform them of his decision.
“This was a shock to almost everyone in the campaign and most people found out in real time,” a Scott campaign aide told CBS News.
A source close to Scott told CBS News, “Republicans aren’t ready for an optimistic conservative yet,” the adviser said. “He’s a good guy; he came into the race like a good guy and he’ll leave like a good guy. His position has only gotten better. That’s hard to do these days.”
Scott shifts resources to Iowa as campaign falters
In recent months, Scott’s campaign has faced challenges that have grown in scope. He narrowly qualified for the third Republican debate just days before the deadline.
And although he logged the most speaking time among the candidates on stage, Scott’s most viral moment occurred after the debate when voters were first introduced to his then-girlfriend not disclosed.
In a recent CBS News/YouGovScott only attracted the attention of about 4 percent of voters, putting him in fifth place, far behind the front-runner, former President Donald Trump.
Scott’s decision to suspend his campaign follows a substantial overhaul of his campaign strategy.
Last month, the candidate declared a strategic shift to Iowa, doubling campaign staff in the Hawkeye State and pledging to travel there every week leading up to the first caucus. The candidate said his efforts are aimed at securing vital ground in the upcoming Republican primary.
Leaning heavily on his faith to woo Iowans, the senator repeatedly said his campaign was “in it for the long haul,” even after Trust in the Mission PAC, a super PAC that had supported Scott’s campaign, decided to raise $40 million in TV. advertising expenses for the candidate.
“We’re doing what would be obvious in the business world but will mystify politicians: We’re not going to waste our money when the electorate isn’t focused or ready for an alternative to Trump,” Rob Collins said. co-chair of the supergroup. PAC, wrote at the time.
Despite struggling in the polls, the candidate has shown fundraising strength, outpacing many 2024 Republican presidential candidates. Besides Trump, Scott has the most cash on hand, totaling about $13.3 million. dollars, according to data from the Federal Election Commission.
Republican candidates react
Scott’s Republican rivals immediately took to X, the website formerly known as Twitter, to wish the senator well following his announcement.
Former Ambassador to the UN and former Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley wrote“Tim Scott is a good man of faith and an inspiration to so many. The Republican primary was made better because of his participation. South Carolina is fortunate to continue to have him as our senator.”
Also commending Scott for his leadership in the Senate was Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wrote“Tim Scott is a strong conservative with bold ideas about how to get our country back on track. I respect his courage in leading this campaign and thank him for his service to America and the U.S. Senate. I Looking forward to Tim continuing to be a leader in our party for years to come.
In a more playful tone by attacking Haley, a businessman Vivek Ramaswamy wrote“Tim Scott seems like a good guy to me. I congratulated @SenatorTimScott 👊 on stage when the other South Carolinian shamelessly copied *exactly* what he said. I wish Tim all the best back in the US Senate. I hope we I can convince him that more aid to Ukraine is a very bad idea for America…it seemed like he was slowly getting back to normal last week I was Glad to see him.”
“I have always been a fan of Tim Scott. His exit from the race is a surprise and America will miss his message of hope about our future. Despite our challenges, I share his optimistic vision for our country and will work hard to win the prize. support of his constituents,” Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson wrote.
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum wrote“Anyone with the courage to stand in the arena deserves our gratitude. @votetimscott. We fought for the best of America. Kathryn and I wish Tim nothing but the best!”
Former Vice President Mike Pence, the first Republican candidate to suspend his campaign, wrote“Senator Tim Scott is a man of faith and integrity who has brought his optimistic vision and inspiring personal story to people across the country and he is my friend. I join millions in thanking @votetimscott for his principled leadership past, present and future and I wish him every blessing as he continues to serve South Carolina and America for many years to come.”
Trump and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie did not immediately comment on Scott’s decision to suspend his campaign.
— Cristina Corujo, Nidia Cavazos, Aaron Navarro and Jake Rosen contributed reporting.