GOP presidential candidate Tim Scott announced a sudden end to his campaign late Sunday night.
The surprise announcement shocked both his donors and staffers.
“I love America more today than I did on May 22nd,” Scott told Trey Gowdy on Fox News.
“But when I go back to Iowa, it will not be as a presidential candidate. I am suspending my campaign,” he added.
Gowdy, a former South Carolina Congressman, appeared thoroughly surprised by Tim Scott’s announcement.
Senator Tim Scott chose his longtime friend and fellow South Carolinian Trey Gowdy’s Fox show to announce that his presidential campaign is over. Gowdy sounded genuinely surprised >>> pic.twitter.com/8f42s763OR
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) November 13, 2023
Others may need to drop out now: Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) surprised everyone on Sunday night by declaring the suspension of his 2024 presidential campaign, citing polls indicating a lack of momentum in a race overshadowed by former President Donald Trump. pic.twitter.com/vIID9U9Mzd
— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) November 13, 2023
The South Carolina Republican senator made the announcement in a televised interview on Fox News with his longtime friend Trey Gowdy. The news came as a shock to his own staff. Multiple campaign staff members confirmed to POLITICO that they had no prior knowledge of Scott’s decision before he did so on live television.
“When I go back to Iowa it will not be as a presidential candidate,” Scott said to a seemingly surprised Gowdy, who raised his eyebrows. “The voters, who are the most remarkable people on the planet … They’re telling me, ‘not now, Tim.’ I don’t think they’re saying, Trey, ‘no,’ but I do they’re saying, ‘not now.’”
Scott, who has been stuck in the low-single digits in polling, had announced that his campaign was going all-in on Iowa in a last-ditch effort to boost his chances in the Republican presidential contest. It’s unclear just how many of his staff members were drafted to move to Iowa after his campaign manager announced last month that staff would be relocating to the first-caucus state.
On a call with campaign staff immediately after his television interview, Scott acknowledged that the announcement “may have caught you by surprise,” and that he “tried to be as strategic as possible dealing with this.”
Less than half an hour before he made the announcement, Scott’s campaign sent out a fundraising email with the subject line “One last chance.”
GOP presidential candidates Vivek Ramaswamy and Ron DeSantis commented on Scott’s departure from the Republican primary.
Tim Scott 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 U.S. Senate.
I look forward to Tim continuing to be a leader in our party for years to come.
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantis) November 13, 2023
Tim Scott strikes me as a good dude. I gave @SenatorTimScott a congratulatory 👊 on stage when the other South Carolinian shamelessly copied *exactly* what he said. Wishing Tim all the best back in the U.S. Senate. I’m hopeful we can convince him that more Ukraine aid is an awful… pic.twitter.com/jZ6uzLoX47
— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) November 13, 2023
Fox News added:
In addition to ending his campaign, the senator emphasized he has no plans to endorse another candidate in the race for the Republican nomination.
“The best way for me to be helpful is to not weigh in,” he said.
Scott also gave a thumbs down to the idea that he could serve as the nominee’s running mate on the Republican Party’s 2024 national ticket.Advertisement
“Being vice president has never been on my to-do list,” he said.
The news was a surprise to some of the senator’s staff as a handful of campaign aides confirmed to Fox News that they were not given a heads-up on Scott’s decision ahead of his live appearance Sunday night. But the senator did hold an all-staff call following his interview on the Fox News Channel.
A source in Scott’s political circle told Fox News that the move by Scott “was a broad recognition of the state of the race and Tim is not somebody who is in search of a vanity project. He saw how things were transpiring.”