In a surprise development, US Senator and the only Black Republican presidential candidate Tim Scott on late Sunday (local time) announced that he is withdrawing from the presidential race for the 2024 elections, as he struggles to gain traction days after the third primary debate.
He made the announcement on "Sunday Night in America" with Trey Gowdy. The Republican Senator 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. The 58-year-old Senator continued to struggle in the polls just days after the third Republican primary debate.
"I love America more today than I did on May 22. 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," he said on the show on Sunday night.
Scott further said that he wouldn't be making an endorsement of his remaining Republican rivals, adding that the voters are "really smart". He also appeared to rule out serving as vice president, saying that becoming the running mate has never been on his "to-do list for the campaign".
Who is Tim Scott?
Scott is a deeply religious former insurance broker, who made his grandfather's work in the cotton fields of the Deep South a bedrock of his political identity and of his presidential campaign.
But he also refused to frame his own life story around the country's racial inequities, insisting that those who disagree with his views on the issue are trying to “weaponise race to divide us”, and that “the truth of my life disproves their lies”. He has served as a US Senator in South Carolina since 2013.
Meanwhile, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Scott's Republican rival, said that he is a "strong conservative with bold ideas about how to get our country back on track". "I respect his courage to run this campaign and thank him for his service to America and the US Senate,” he wrote on social media.
Mike Pence's withdrawal
Earlier, another candidate, former US Vice President Mike Pence, also decided to put the brakes on his presidential campaign for the upcoming elections in 2024 after struggling to gain traction. "We always knew this would be an uphill battle, but I have no regrets. To the American people, I say this is not my time, but it's still your time. I urge you to hold fast to what matters most, faith, family, and the constitution of the United States of America," he said at an event.
Pence reportedly lagged behind other Republican contenders in fundraising and poll numbers and is the most high-profile candidate to pull out of the presidential race. He was ex-President Donald Trump's running mate, but broke ranks after the latter's loss in the 2020 elections and the Capitol riots on January 6, 2021.
On the campaign trail, Pence had to frequently defend his decision to oppose Trump and his alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Pence repeatedly said that he fulfilled his constitutional responsibilities during the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021, amid the attack on the US Capitol, a claim that many Republican voters disagreed with.
Trump long blamed Pence for refusing to back his plans to overturn the election results, causing Pence to have to publicly rebuke Trump — and by extension, many of his followers.
(with inputs from agencies)