Tim Scott’s suspension of his presidential campaign came as a “surprise” to his campaign staff members, his allies and his supporters, the latter of whom were sent a last-minute fundraising solicitation shortly before the Republican Senator from South Carolina made his announcement, according to reports.
Scott, who was never able to be a serious polling threat to front-runner Donald Trump, let alone several other candidates, made his announcement Sunday afternoon during an interview on Fox News conducted by Republican and former South Carolina U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy.
“When I go back to Iowa it will not be as a presidential candidate,” Scott told Gowdy, who appeared to react as if he was not expecting to hear that breaking news. “The voters, who are the most remarkable people on the planet … They’re telling me, ‘not now, Tim.’ I don’t think they’re saying, Trey, ‘no,’ but I do they’re saying, ‘not now.’”
The announcement was apparently either unplanned or top secret among campaign staffers who theoretically should have known Scott planned to quit.
Politico reported that “[m]ultiple campaign staff members confirmed … that they had no prior knowledge of Scott’s decision before he” announced that he was dropping out of the race on live television.
More from Politico:
On a call with campaign staff immediately after his television interview, Scott acknowledged that the announcement “may have caught you by surprise,” and that he “tried to be as strategic as possible dealing with this.”
Less than half an hour before he made the announcement, Scott’s campaign sent out a fundraising email with the subject line “One last chance.”
Also from Politico:
Scott’s Sunday night announcement came after he canceled a scheduled swing through Iowa this weekend, a change the campaign on Friday attributed to him having the flu. Scott started the interview by saying he was “looking forward to getting back on the campaign trail” after he recovers from the flu before adding that he would no longer be a candidate.
“Pretty shocking,” remarked one Scott ally after his announcement.
“Had no idea,” said a campaign staff member, moments after Scott said on television he was ending his presidential bid.
NBC News reported that “[m]ultiple Scott staffers” were given “no warning” and only learned about the news “by watching him say so on TV.”
While it’s naive to assume that the upper levels of Scott’s campaign were blindsided by his announcement, previous suspensions of presidential campaigns — both in this current and past political cycles — have been absent of such reports of a “surprise.”
In part because he was never able to break through on the polling front, political analysts predicted Scott’s campaign suspension as being inevitable. Only the timing of it was in question.
Scott was noncommittal about which candidate he’d endorse for the Republican presidential nomination and encouraged voters to do their own research.
Scott’s announcement to suspend his campaign came just days after he finally made good on his promise to reveal his long-spoken-about girlfriend. He posed with Mindy Noce, a design and renovation manager in Charleston, South Carolina, following a lackluster performance in the third Republican primary debate on Wednesday night.
With Republican donors reportedly pressing the issue of Scott being single while seeking the presidency, his bachelorhood dominated headlines in September as Scott was unable to avoid the scrutiny of being unmarried.
Beyond his personal life, Scott displayed an astounding tone-deafness during the third debate – and, by extension, his short-lived campaign – by doubling down on his presidential promise for a national abortion ban less than 24 hours after voters in Ohio cast ballots to defeat such a proposition.
Scott’s staunch refusal to acknowledge racism in America certainly didn’t help his cause, as evidenced by the way he recently scolded a Black congregation in a Chicago church that he suggested was overly focused on race — a tactic that polling showed resonated with white voters, in particular.
Nadia Brown, a political scientist and professor at Georgetown University, described Scott last week to ABC News in terms of a political and racial token.
“What Tim Scott and those of his ilk are doing, they’re trying to play on these emotional push pins that most African Americans don’t see. It’s not landing for them,” Brown said. “I think that is a call out to other conservatives, particularly white conservatives, who want to say, ‘I have a Black senator,’ or, ‘I feel comfortable voting for a Black candidate.’”
The remaining Republican candidates for president include Trump, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.
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