The Republican field is shrinking, as Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) said this evening that he was suspending his presidential campaign.
Scott said on Fox News’ Sunday Night in America with Trey Gowdy that voters “who are the most remarkable people on the planet…they’re telling me, not now, Tim.”
Gowdy seemed suprised by Scott’s announcement, and said, “You have plenty of money. You have the highest approval numbers of any candidate that is running, and you are couple of states away from coming to a state where you are beloved, and you are suspending your presidential campaign?”
“I think the message is clear for me right now,” Scott said.
Scott was among five candidates who qualified for the Republican debate last week, but he has failed to have a breakout moment at any of the three events so far this cycle. Front runner Donald Trump has been skipping the debates, which have been dubbed a “silver” medal event by pundits given the former president’s lead.
Scott’s exit from the race, though, could help consolidate the vote for a Trump alternative. Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis have been vying for that No. 2 spot, while Vivek Ramaswamy and Chris Christie have remained in the race.
Scott was originally thought to be a potential breakthrough candidate, who could contrast with Trump by offering a more upbeat message that evoked Ronald Reagan. But that didn’t break through in a much more combative period of political discourse, as Trump has solidified his lead as he vows score settling and retribution against his opponents if elected.
The field of candidates has narrowed considerably this fall. Vice President Mike Pence ended his presidential campaign last month, and Larry Elder, Perry Johnson and Will Hurd all dropped their bid after failing to qualify for the debates. Francis Suarez, the mayor of Miami, was the first to exit the race last summer. Doug Burgum and Asa Hutchinson, who both failed to qualify for the most recent debate, are still in the race.