Republican Tim Scott said Sunday night that he is suspending his presidential campaign.
Scott made the announcement on “Sunday Night in America with Trey Gowdy” on Fox News.
“When I go back to Iowa, it won’t be as a presidential candidate. I’m 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,” Scott said.
Scott’s campaign canceled his entire Iowa swing over the weekend due to the flu, but they appeared to remain positive about the pursuit of getting him the GOP nomination for president. Earlier Sunday, the campaign had confirmed to ABC News that Scott would attend the Bob Vander Plaats Family Leaders Thanksgiving Forum later this week.
Scott kicked off the interview with Gowdy on Sunday night, telling the host that he was feeling better after “drinking a lot of water” the past few days.
“But I was looking forward to getting back on the campaign trail without any questions,” he said, adding, “I love America more today than I did on May 22,” before making the announcement.
Scott went on to say he respected the voters’ decision at this time.
“And I’m going to hang in there and keep working hard and look forward to another opportunity,” he added.
Scott began his campaign on May 22 at his alma mater, Charleston Southern University in South Carolina, with nearly $22 million left over from his Senate campaign and endorsements from Sens. Mike Rounds and John Thune. He launched the campaign on what he said was an “optimistic message.”
Raised in poverty in North Charleston, South Carolina, Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, often talked about how his grandfather picked cotton to get by. “From Cotton to Congress” is what he called his rise through politics. He would eventually become a senator after spending two years in the House of Representatives before being appointed to the Senate by current GOP presidential candidate and former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley. Scott has said he believes his story disproved “the lies of the radical left.”
During his presidential campaign, Scott attracted major donors over the summer during a six-state fundraising swing that culminated in his super PAC, Trust in the Mission, announcing an impressive $40 million purchase this fall.
But during the first debate in Milwaukee, Scott ultimately missed his moment — often fading into the background, unable to get a word in between the other candidates. He was unable to stand out and the voters noticed.
This was perhaps the beginning of the end for Scott’s campaign. Questions began to arise from political pundits and voters alike about whether he was “too nice” to be president.
As a result, Scott began working on his image. He went after former President Donald Trump, Governor DeSantis and Haley for their stances on abortion. But he was still unable to gain traction. Scott began falling even lower in national polls, according to the 538 average in September.
Scott managed to improve his debate performance somewhat, but it wasn’t enough. On October 7, after Hamas attacked Israel, his campaign struggled to break through the news. Although he had some of the strongest language against the attack among his fellow candidates, Scott’s message went unheard. His poll numbers began to hover below 2%.
His super PAC announced they were pulling his fall ad buy on Oct. 16, and his campaign announced they were pulling all of his resources from South Carolina and New Hampshire to go “all in” on Iowa.
“No candidate other than Tim Scott has the resources, the base of support and the message to succeed in the Hawkeye State. We’re all for Iowa as an important first step toward winning the nomination,” campaign manager Jennifer Det said DeCasper earlier in a declaration.
They began doubling their staff and rented a new office in West Des Moines, Iowa. But the momentum never came. Their campaign was plagued by rumors that they would not participate in the third debate. They had sent a letter to the Republican National Committee asking leaders of the organization to change how they determine who is at center stage and what qualifications are considered to get to the third debate.
“Given the significant focus on ‘carve-out’ states, the polling data from those states more accurately reflects how well candidates resonate with voters compared to national polls. Consequently, Republican debates should more fairly reward and represent early state efforts,” DeCasper wrote.
Although Scott polled in single digits nationally, at the time he was in third place in Iowa and South Carolina.
The junior senator barely made it to the debate in Miami, and although Scott managed to get the most speaking time, he did not make new inroads with voters. According to 538, Scott had the third worst performance of the night. His most memorable moment was the introduction of his much talked about girlfriend, Mindy Noce.
Although he barely made it to the third debate, Scott’s path to the fourth in Alabama seemed highly unlikely. He would need to be at 6% to meet the RNC’s poll threshold.
But initially the campaign trudged along — announcing a six-event swing in Iowa as part of his plan to visit the state every week until the January caucuses. The only event he would make it to, however, was a dinner with the Real Estate Developers Association in Des Moines, where only four attendees asked the South Carolina Senator questions.
His campaign would ultimately cancel their full swing of events just two hours before the first was set to begin. It’s worth noting that the first event, a meet-and-greet at Pizza Ranch in Carroll, Iowa, was two hours away from Des Moines, where most of the reporters were from, leaving the reporters to make the two-hour drive without notice of its cancellation. It was a sign of the end.
Scott remained quiet over the weekend, but eventually, to the surprise of Fox News host Trey Gowdy on Sunday night, he suspended his campaign. Scott’s inability to find and seize his moment ultimately stalled what began as a campaign flush with cash and full of optimism.
Ironically, just eight minutes before appearing on Gowdy, Scott’s campaign sent out a fundraising email with a subject line that read “One Last Chance.”
Scott did not indicate who he would endorse. He has said he will not run for another term in the Senate. Scott also told Gowdy that he has no plans to be anyone’s vice president. However, he did not rule out running as he had “another option”.
“I believe I could have taken this country to new heights with great unity on conservative principles. Optimism comes from being tough,” he said. “I think I was called to run. I wasn’t called to win.”