South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott has a lot of fans in the GOP, but unfortunately not a lot of primary voters. On Sunday night, he told Fox News’ Trey Gowdy he is giving up his quest to become the Republican presidential nominee.
“I am indeed suspending my campaign,” Scott said. “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 ‘no,’ but I do they’re saying, ‘not now.’”
Scott’s announcement appeared to catch Gowdy by surprise. And according to published reports, even Scott’s own staff was unaware of his intentions. A Washington Post reporter posted a fundraising email from the Tim Scott campaign he received at 9:17 pm Sunday, just 45 minutes before the candidate dropped out of the race.
Scott made his evangelical faith the centerpiece of his presidential campaign, and Republicans running on a social conservative platform have done well in the Iowa caucuses in the past. However, Scott’s approach was believed to have limited appeal in New Hampshire, one of the most secular states in the union.
As of Sunday, Scott was stuck at single digits in polling from both states, though his RealClearPolitics average from Iowa (6.7 percent) was higher than New Hampshire (4.3 percent).
And despite his poor poll numbers in the horserace, he still had high approval ratings among GOP primary voters, leaving Republican strategists in the early states wondering which candidate might get the benefit of his support. According to the Suffolk University poll taken last month, fellow South Carolinian Nikki Haley was the second choice of about 40 percent of Scott supporters, while Donald Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis were each the pick of around 17 percent.
However, Scott told Fox News he doesn’t plan to endorse.
“The best way for me to be the most helpful is to not weigh in,” Scott said.
Still, some of the other candidates reached out via social media.
“Tim Scott is a good man of faith and an inspiration to so many. The Republican primary was made better by his participation in it. South Carolina is blessed to continue to have him as our senator,” Haley posted on X.
“Tim Scott strikes me as a good dude,” Vivek Ramaswamy said in a post. “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 idea for America…looked like he was slowly coming around last week, I was glad to see it.”
Granite State Republicans told NHJournal on background they weren’t surprised. Reports were already circulating last week that the paid canvassers knocking doors for Scott in New Hampshire had already been let go.
“He was the nice guy that nobody wanted to be president,” one New Hampshire GOP operative said.