Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush announced on Saturday night that he is ending his campaign after a loss in the South Carolina primary.
“The people of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken,” Bush said in a speech. “And tonight, I am suspending my campaign.”
Bush thanked his supporters and his campaign staff, who “never, ever, ever gave up.”
“I’ve had an incredible life, and for me, public service has been the highlight of that life,” Bush said. “But no matter what the future holds, here’s the greatest … landing you can imagine — tonight I’m going to sleep with the best friend I have and the love of my life.”
He then leaned over and kissed his wife, Columba, on the cheek.
For Bush, it marked the end of a process that began when he declared he would explore a run for president in December 2014.
He entered the process as the favourite to win the Republican nomination, but his campaign lost momentum throughout the summer and fall, as real-estate mogul Donald Trump’s campaign unexpectedly took off. And low-polling Republican candidates have faced pressure from their party to drop out so that establishment donors can consolidate support behind an alternative to Trump.
At the time he left the race, Bush had 8.3% of the vote in South Carolina with 58% of precincts reporting, putting him in fourth place behind the projected winner, Trump, and the two candidates battling for second place, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
Bush’s campaign hit a roadblock from the start — he’s a more moderate Republican compared to the leading candidates, Trump and Cruz. They have tapped into the far-right and anti-establishment voting blocs, which have become a bigger and bigger part of the Republican Party.
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