COLUMBIA, S.C. — Republican presidential candidate Tim Scott that he was dropping out of the 2024 race, a development that surprised his donors and stunned his campaign staff just two months before the start of voting in Iowa’s leadoff GOP caucuses.
The South Carolina senator, who entered the race in May with high hopes, made the surprise announcement on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Night in America” with Trey Gowdy, one of his closest friends. The news was so unanticipated that one campaign worker told The Associated Press that campaign staff found out Scott was dropping out by watching the show.
“I love America more today than I did on May 22,” Scott said. “But 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 is the second major candidate to leave the race since the end of October. Former Vice President Mike Pence suspended his campaign two weeks ago, announcing at a Republican Jewish Coalition gathering in Las Vegas that “This is not my time.”
Scott said he wouldn’t immediately be endorsing any of his remaining Republican rivals.
“The voters are really smart,” Scott said. “The best way for me to be helpful is to not weigh in on who they should endorse.”
Scott’s next political move is unclear. He has said his 2022 Senate reelection would be his last and has at times been mentioned as a possible candidate for South Carolina governor, which is next up in 2026. Gov. Henry McMaster is term-limited.