(NEW YORK) — Republican Tim Scott said Sunday night 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 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,"” Scott said.
Scott’s campaign canceled his entire Iowa swing over the weekend due to flu, but they seemed to remain positive over the pursuit to get him the GOP nomination for president. Earlier Sunday, the campaign had confirmed to ABC News that Scott would attend Bob Vander Plaats’ Family Leader Thanksgiving Forum later in the week.
Scott started the interview with Gowdy on Sunday night, telling the host he was getting 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 present.
“And I’m gonna hold on and keep working really 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 ultimately 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 Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley. Scott has said he believes his story disproved “the lies of the radical left.”
During his presidential campaign, Scott attracted big donors over the summer during a six-state fundraising swing, which culminated in his super PAC, Trust in the Mission, announcing an impressive $40 million ad-buy for the fall.
But during the first debate in Milwaukee, Scott ultimately missed his moment – often fading into the background without being able to get a word in between the other candidates. He wasn’t able to stand out, and voters noticed.
This was perhaps the beginning of the end for Scott’s campaign. Questions began to arise from political pundits and voters alike on whether or not he was “too nice” to become president.
As a result, Scott began to work on his image. He went after former President Donald Trump, Gov. DeSantis and Haley for their stances on abortion. But he still was unable to gain traction. Scott began to fall even lower in national polls according to 538’s average in September.
Scott managed to somewhat improve his debate performance, but it wasn’t enough. On Oct. 7, after Hamas attacked Israel, his campaign found it hard to break through the news. Although he had some of the strongest language against the attack out of his fellow candidates, Scott’s message remained unheard. His polling numbers began hovering below 2%.
His super PAC announced they were pulling his fall ad buys 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 foundation of support and the message to be successful in the Hawkeye State. We’re all in on Iowa as an important first step on the road to winning the nomination,” campaign manager Jennifer DeCasper previously said in a statement.
They began doubling their staff and rented a new office in West Des Moines, Iowa. But the momentum never came. Their campaign was plagued with rumors that they would not make the third debate. They had sent out a letter to the Republican National Committee requesting leaders of the organization change how they determine who takes center stage and what qualifications were considered to make it to the third debate.
“Given the substantial focus on ‘carve out’ states, the polling data from these states more accurately reflects how well candidates resonate with voters compared to national polling. Consequently, Republican debates should more fairly reward and represent early state efforts,” wrote DeCasper.
Although Scott was polling in the 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 have the most speaking time, he didn’t 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 one in Alabama seemed highly unlikely. He needed to be at 6% to meet the RNC’s polling threshold.
But initially, the campaign trudged on – announcing a swing of six events in Iowa as a part of his plan to visit the state every week until the caucus in January. 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 one 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 reporters were coming from, leaving reporters to make the two-hour drive without notice of its cancelation. It was a telltale sign of the end.
Scott remained quiet over the weekend, but ultimately, to the surprise of Sunday night Fox News host Trey Gowdy, he suspended his campaign. Scott’s inability to find and seize his moment ultimately halted what began as a campaign flush with cash and full of optimism.
Ironically just eight minutes before he appeared 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 he has no plans to be someone’s vice president. He didn’t rule out running when he had “another opportunity,” though.
“I believe that I could have taken this country to new heights with a great unity on conservative principles. Optimism comes from being tough,” he said. “I think I was called to run. I was not called to win.”
Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.