Scott drops out of race for Republican presidential nomination

Republican presidential candidate Tim Scott announced late Sunday that he was dropping out of the 2024 race, about two months before the start of voting in Iowa
Published: Nov. 12, 2023 at 10:11 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 13, 2023 at 10:32 AM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/WCSC) - Republican presidential candidate Tim Scott announced late Sunday that he was dropping out of the 2024 race, about two months before the start of voting in Iowa’s leadoff caucuses.

The South Carolina senator made the surprise announcement on “Sunday Night in America” with Trey Gowdy. The news comes as Scott continued to struggle in the polls and just days after the third Republican primary debate, in which he again failed to break through.

During the program, Scott told Gowdy that while he was suspending his campaign, he will remain as committed to making sure that this country “chooses the right person.”

“If you ever wanna love your country more, run for president. Traveling this country, meeting people, has been one of the most fantastic experiences of my entire life,” Scott said during the broadcast. “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.’ I don’t think they’re saying, Trey, ‘No.’ But I do think they’re saying ‘not now.’ And so I’m gonna respect the voters and I’m gonna hold on and keep working really hard and look forward to another opportunity.”

Gowdy asked about Scott’s record, pointing out that he did not hear “a single negative word” about Scott’s response to Joe Biden’s State of the Union address. He also mentioned Scott’s 2020 nominating speech and his introduction of Opportunity Zones and his work on criminal justice reform.

“Maybe I shouldn’t ask you, maybe I should ask the voters what it says about the Republican Party that someone with that resume is suspending his presidential campaign,” Gowdy said.

“You know, I’ll say without any question, the voters are smart, they’re savvy, and I think what our country is going through right now is a very challenging time,” Scott said. “And our goal should be to unite this country and not take advantage of the divisions of this country. And the more time we spend talking about the goodness of America, the more time we spend talking about the future of this America, the more time we spend talking about having faith in God, faith in each other, and faith in our future, the better off we will be as Americans, and the more likely we are to come back together to be that one nation under God.

Fellow South Carolinian and Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley praised Scott on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, calling him “a good man of faith and an inspiration to so many.”

“The Republican primary was made better by his participation in it,” Haley said. “South Carolina is blessed to continue to have him as our senator.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is also running for the Republican nomination, called him 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 U.S. Senate,” DeSantis said. “I look forward to Tim continuing to be a leader in our party for years to come.”

At the third presidential debate, held on Nov. 8,, Scott said America needs a renewal, “a great awakening,” from a growing “cultural and spiritual crisis.”

“We should reject the left valueless faithless fatherless society. We should turn back to faith, patriotism and individual responsibility. We should stop choosing victimhood and start choosing victory. We should stop kneeling in protest and start kneeling in prayer,” he said. “There are basic truths that built this country. If you’re able-bodied in America, you work. If you take that loan, you pay it back. If you commit a violent crime, you go to jail. And if God made you a man, you play sports against men.”

He said he did not want to win the battle against Biden, but said he wanted “us together to win the war” for “our Christian conservative values.”

Scott, the Senate’s only Black Republican, announced his intention to run in May. He entered the race with more cash than any other Republican candidate but couldn’t find a lane in a field dominated by former President Donald Trump.

A Nov. 6 CBS News poll for 2024 Republican candidates taken among likely GOP primary voters showed former President Donald Trump maintaining a strong lead over the others with 61%. DeSantis came in second place at 18% followed by Haley in third place with 9%.

Scott came in fifth place with just 4%, placing him one percentage point behind Vivek Ramaswamy, but two points ahead of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.