Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) has suspended his campaign for the GOP nomination for president.
Scott made the announcement during an interview on Fox News with host Trey Gowdy.
“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,” Scott told Gowdy. “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 was reportedly going all-in on Iowa to boosts his chances of breaking through in the primary field, but he was still polling in the low single digits in the early primary state and overall in the GOP primary field.
Nevertheless, Scott’s announcement on Sunday caught many of his staffers and donors by surprise.
“Had no idea,” a campaign staff member told Politico.
Scott joined the Republican primary field in May with high hopes. He ran on a more optimistic message, a contrast to the frontrunner, Donald Trump, whose message seems to be America is in decline and him alone can save it.
“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.
On Sunday, Scott dismissed the idea of being a running mate to whoever becomes the GOP nominee, telling Gowdy: “I ran for president to be president. 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.”
Scott’s departure comes as the GOP primary field have struggled to close the gap on Trump who has been dominant in the polls despite four criminal indictments and several other legal challenges.