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Republican Sen. Tim Scott Announces Suspension Of Presidential Campaign


Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina declared on Sunday in an appearance with Fox News that he was suspending his presidential candidacy.

“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,” he said.

Many of Scott’s donors and assistants were caught off guard by the statement that was made Sunday night. Scott’s campaign was facing an uphill battle to advance in the GOP primary, and two individuals close to the campaign said they were not informed in advance.

After the third GOP presidential debate last week, the super PAC backing Scott opted not to make any more investments. It had already withdrawn its slate of television advertisements in October.

With the super PAC’s decision to stop running its advertisements, Scott’s chances of winning the presidency have deteriorated during the past few weeks. The Scott campaign declared last month that it was “all in” on Iowa, hoping to outshine his primary opponents by focusing on the first GOP nominating race of the year.

According to those close to his campaign, Scott kept his decision to withdraw from the race close to his vest, although the timing of the announcement surprised more than the decision itself. As the last contender to reach the polling and funding requirements to participate in last week’s Republican debate, his campaign was concerned about making it to the fourth debate the following month.

Even he admitted to advisors and supporters that his hopes of a successful debate performance to launch his candidacy had been dashed.

According to those close to his campaign, by withdrawing now, he may return to the Senate without suffering a humiliating loss in Iowa. He quits without putting himself in Donald Trump’s crosshairs in the event that the former president is chosen as the nominee, preserving the chance of a future political bid.

“Tim ran an optimistic, hopeful message — but that’s not where the Republican base is right now,” a GOP official who supported Scott told CNN.

Scott declined to support any other Republican candidate in the primary, telling Fox News’ Trey Gowdy that he feels that withholding an endorsement is “the best way for me to be helpful.”

Scott reiterated a stance he has expressed often throughout the campaign trail when he stated he had no intention of accepting a vice presidential candidacy.

“I ran for president to be president,” he said. “I think I was called to run. I was not called to win, but I certainly was called to run. … Being vice president has never been on my to-do list for this campaign, and it’s certainly not there now.”

Metal tycoon and prominent Scott donor Andy Sabin told CNN that he is “disappointed but not surprised” by the senator’s decision to resign, adding that he will now support former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley in the GOP primary.

In an attempt to offer a positive message to a Republican field that was dominated by candidates who painted America as a failing state, like Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Scott launched his candidacy in May.

He turned his life story into a campaign theme, frequently discussing his upbringing by a single mother in poverty in South Carolina and used those experiences to refute Democratic positions on a variety of topics, including economic policy, education, and criminal justice.

“The truth of my life disrupts their lies,” he said often at campaign events.

The senator from South Carolina transformed his Senate campaign account into a presidential fund, giving him a significant financial edge going into the contest. This allowed him to flood the airwaves with early advertising in Iowa and New Hampshire, and it also provided him a $21 million head start on fundraising. In the early states, Scott’s television commercials were so widely seen that by the summer, people in the crowd at political gatherings could recite lines from them back to him.

Campaign officials for Scott frequently cited their war chest as justification for their candidate’s road to the nomination, claiming that they would have the funds to continue their campaign through the South Carolina primary while other contenders would be under pressure to withdraw.

The senator’s super PAC, Trust in the Mission PAC, withdrew the remaining $40 million from its TV ad allocation in the fall, claiming challenges in “breaking through” to Republican voters. This put pressure on the Scott campaign. The declaration was made soon after fundraising reports that revealed the campaign was rapidly depleting its cash reserves were made public.

As a result, the Scott campaign changed course and concentrated all of its efforts on Iowa, sending staff and TV commercial reservations there and greatly stepping up Scott’s visits. In addition to concentrating on Iowa, Scott adopted a more combative rhetorical strategy, frequently criticizing President Joe Biden as well as Republican opponents like DeSantis, Haley, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy. This marked a change from Scott’s previous, friendlier style of campaigning.

Being arguably the most well-known Black Republican politician in the nation, Scott regularly broached racial issues in order to increase his fundraising and win over supporters. He implied that America’s battles with racism were mostly over by citing his personal experiences. During the second Republican primary debate in California, Scott made news when he expressed his strong conviction that the nation had moved past its past of slavery and Jim Crow era segregation. He also attacked anti-poverty initiatives that were put in place during the 1960s.

“Black families survived slavery. We survived poll taxes and literacy tests. We survived discrimination being woven into the laws of our country. What was hard to survive was [President Lyndon] Johnson’s Great Society, where they decided to … take the Black father out of the household to get a check in the mail, and you can now measure that in unemployment, in crime, in devastation,” Scott said during the debate.

With his withdrawal from the presidential contest, Scott closes a chapter on a political career that started in 1995 after he was elected to the Charleston County Council in a special election. Before being elected to the South Carolina House in 2008, he served in that capacity for more than ten years. Scott was elected to the US House to represent South Carolina’s First Congressional District following a single term as a state legislator.

Following Haley’s appointment to the US Senate in 2013 as governor, Scott became a member of Congress. The vacancy was caused by the retirement of Republican Sen. Jim DeMint. In a special election held in 2014, Scott was re-elected to a full term, and he was elected to a second full term last year.

Compared to other Republicans, Scott has shown a greater willingness to collaborate with Democrats in Washington. He led the bipartisan negotiations on policing reform with Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, but those talks ultimately broke down. However, he also has one of the Congress’s most conservative voting records. Throughout Trump’s presidency, he hardly ever parted ways with him and regularly bragged about his conservative views on taxation, criminal justice, and education when running for office.

In contrast to his assaults on other front-runners for the GOP nomination, Scott’s criticism of Trump during the campaign was very mild.

He frequently stated that he supported the policies implemented by the Trump administration, particularly the tax cuts that were passed in 2017 that he assisted in drafting in Congress, but he also frequently contended that Trump lacked the support in crucial swing states required to lead Republicans to victory in a general election.

“I think if you look at the results in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Nevada … one of the things that you want to know is: ‘What’s the difference between Tim Scott and other candidates, Donald Trump specifically?’” Scott said to reporters at an Iowa campaign event in October. “The difference is I believe that I am the most electable candidate we have in the field.”

On Sunday, Scott hinted that he would continue to search for “another opportunity” to make a presidential run.

“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,’” Scott said. “And so I’m going to respect the voters … and keep working really hard and look forward to another opportunity.”

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