Sen. Tim Scott Suspends Presidential Campaign
WASHINGTON — Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., suspended his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, telling his friend and former U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., in a Fox News interview Sunday night, voters had sent him a clear message.
“I don’t think they’re saying, ‘No.’ But I do think they’re saying, ‘Not now,’” Scott said.
Gowdy was taken aback.
“I’m trying to process this information, and I’m trying to do it on live television,” he said.
The message also is said to have come as a complete surprise to most of Scott’s campaign staff, who learned of his decision just as Gowdy had, live on television.
There had, however, been a few clues.
Scott had canceled a series of events scheduled in Iowa over the weekend, his campaign explaining that he’d come down with the flu.
Then, on Sunday morning, he cited Proverbs in a post on his campaign page on X, the social media platform.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your path straight,” it said.
In conversation with Gowdy, Scott went on to say that he has no intention of endorsing another candidate for the Republican nomination.
“I’m going to recommend that voters study each candidate,” he said. “The best way for me to be helpful is to not weigh in on who they should endorse.”
He also said he had no intention of being someone else’s running mate.
“I ran for president to be president. Being vice president has never been on my to-do list,” he said.
Scott, the first Black Republican elected to the Senate from the South since Reconstruction, entered the presidential contest in May hoping to be a positive and hopeful counterbalance to his more apocalyptic fellow candidates, most of all former President Donald Trump.
But neither that nor his personal story of rising from poverty in North Charleston, South Carolina, to become a U.S. senator, caught on with voters.
Scott leaves the race after hovering for months at about 1% in national polls and without ever having broken out of the single digits even in his home state. This despite spending over $20 million over the course of his campaign.
Though Scott turned in a solid performance in last week’s Republican primary debate, pundits felt “solid” wasn’t good enough and that he should have done more to distinguish himself.
What’s next for Scott is unknown. In 2019 he announced his 2022 run for reelection to the Senate would be his last. However, he has been mentioned in the past as a possible candidate for South Carolina governor. The next gubernatorial election in the state is 2026, and the current governor, Henry McMaster, is term-limited.
Scott spent more than a decade in local government, serving on the Charleston County Council, before being elected to the state Legislature and then to Congress. He was appointed to the Senate by then-Gov. Nikki Haley in 2013 to fill the vacancy created by U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint’s resignation.
Haley was among the first of Scott’s former 2024 rivals to release statements Sunday night wishing him well.
“Tim Scott is a good man of faith and an inspiration to so many,” she said on X. “The Republican primary was made better by his participation in it. South Carolina is blessed to continue to have him as our senator.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called Scott “a strong conservative with bold ideas about how to get our country back on track.
“I respect his courage to run this campaign and thank him for his service to America and the U.S. Senate,” DeSantis continued. “I look forward to Tim continuing to be a leader in our party for years to come.”
After the Gowdy broadcast, Scott himself took to X to say that “traveling this country and meeting all of you has been one of the most fantastic experiences of my entire life.”
“From the bottom of my heart, thank you. God Bless the United States of America,” Scott said.
Suspending a presidential campaign doesn’t mean it’s completely shutting down; Scott can still seek donations and pay bills.