South Carolina Senator Tim Scott has announced he’s dropping out of the 2024 presidential race.
The 58-year-old statesman abruptly revealed during a Sunday evening interview that he has suspended his White House bid – apparently without telling campaign staffers.
It comes just four days after he showed up to the third GOP primary debate with his girlfriend Mindy Noce, 47, ending months of speculation about his love life.
Scott posed for photos with the mother-of-three behind his debate lectern and briefly held her hand in a touching moment after a tense night in the GOP primary.
His departure leaves Vivek Ramaswamy, Nikki Haley, Ron De Santis and Chris Christie to battle it out against the current frontrunner – former president Donald Trump.
Senator Tim Scott SUSPENDS presidential campaign
Scott’s move to drop his White House bid comes just four days after he attended the third GOP Republican primary debate with his girlfriend Mindy Noce
Scott, 58, told Fox News in an interview Sunday evening that he has withdrawn his bid for the White House
‘I love America more today than I did on May 22,’ Scott told Sunday Night in America with Trey Gowdy, referring to the start of his campaign.
‘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’.
‘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.’
The news was so abrupt that one campaign worker told AP that campaign staff found out Scott was dropping out by watching the show.
They spoke on condition of anonymity since they were not authorized to discuss the internal deliberations publicly.
Scott said he wouldn’t be making an endorsement for any of his 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.
When asked to give marks out of 10 to the five candidates on stage on Wednesday night, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (center) came top with an average ranking of 6.6 points
The lone Black Republican in the US Senate, Scott launched his campaign with an optimistic, forward-looking vision for America.
He portrayed himself as a deeply conservative candidate who was more capable of healing political divisions in the United States than Trump or Florida Governor De Santis.
While Scott enjoyed a modest but measurable bump in opinion polls in some states over the summer, voter excitement proved short-lived.
He failed to establish and defend a lane for himself in a relatively crowded field.
Like other candidates, he never articulated to Trump supporters why they should move on from the former president, who is still well liked by most primary voters.
Scott frequently referenced the Bible and appealed to the Christian faith of many Republican primary voters, echoing his campaign themes and his singular focus on Iowa, where white Evangelical voters are an influential bloc.
Scott speaking during the Republican presidential debate on November 8
He stole the show when he appeared arm-in-arm with his longhaired blonde girlfriend Noce who smiled widely as they posed for pictures.
But it wasn’t enough to stop him ranking fourth out of five in a post-debate poll by JL Partners.
According to the survey of 544 viewers, Scott was ranked 5.5 out of 10 for his performance – above only Christie who scored 4.8.
De Santis came out top with 6.6, followed by Haley joint with Ramaswamy who both scored 6.1.
Scott’s departure comes two months before the start of voting in Iowa’s leadoff caucuses.